HIV/AIDS victims face constant discrimination and harsh criticism. Unfortunately, not many people are properly informed about HIV/AIDS. Some assume the virus could be transmitted by hugging an infected person or through food. This is not the case. A person can become infected with the virus through unprotected sex, oral sex, a blood transfusion or infected needles.

Learning that a relative has the virus can cause confusion, sadness and hopelessness. You may not know what to say or how to console the person. I had a close relative die from the disease many years ago. The prognosis was some of the most painful news I have ever heard. Sadly, the news wasn't well received by everyone in the family. Many were quick to judge and turn their backs. However, the few family members willing to extend a helping hand tried the best they could to make our relative feel comfortable and loved.

No one with HIV/AIDS should ever be turned away from receiving medical assistance, love or support. They need all the help possible.

Below are five ways to help a relative with AIDS:

Become educated

It is imperative to learn about the disease. Read about the virus on websites such as or find AIDS seminars in your local area. The more you know, the better it will be to lend a helping hand.

Be compassionate

Do not judge. Be as kind and understanding as possible. Just imagine if it was you suffering from this horrible disease. You would want all the love and support you can possibly receive from those close to you. Compassion goes a long way.

Demonstrate love

Make your relative aware that your love for him will never change. Let the person know you will be by his side throughout this daunting journey. Give him hugs and make him laugh. Show him the good in life.

Be helpful and attentive

Attend doctor's appointments with her, organize her medications, grocery shop on days she is too sick to do so, cook meals or assist her financially if need be. Medication is extremely expensive. If your loved one does not have the means to afford the medications, perhaps helping her financially could ease her troubles.

Make plans

Invite your loved one to outside activities, family functions, the movies,walks in the park or a family trip. A person living with the HIV virus can last many healthy years, so make as many plans as possible. Let him or her know life isn't over. There's so much more to see and do. If the person has AIDS and is only given a short amount of time to live, make the plans anyway. An AIDS victim should never be deprived from living a fulfilling life.

If you follow any, or all, of these suggestions, your relative with HIV/AIDS will feel the love and support. Never treat a relative with HIV/AIDS any differently than you would if he wasn't suffering from the horrible disease. Let him know your support and love is unconditional. And once you tell him, act on it. Fill his life with special moments.

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