Love and HIV

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 11:16 PM

Many people are sharing their stories about love and how it has helped them and continues to help them in dealing with their HIV status.  In this post, I’m going to present the empirically supportable, scientifically based reasons why this is so. 

Being in love is very good for you because our emotional health is strongly tied to our physical health. The emotional connection between lovebirds lowers stress levels because of the emotional support and physical intimacy that comes from being in love.  Love doesn’t have to just be of the romantic kind.  It can be the love you give, and receive from friends and your HIV+ peers. 

When you are with the one or ones you love the lightness you feel in your heart may just be your blood pressure dropping.  A new study reports that when people were with their spouses or partners their blood pressure lowered slightly.  "The lowering was not a big difference, but it's significant," said lead author of a study, assistant professor of psychology Brooks Gump, of the State University of New York at Oswego.  
Dr. Harry Lodge, author of Younger Next Year, further explains why reaching out to give, and receive love is good for you.  According to him, "People who are socially engaged have half the mortality of people who are lonely and isolated,"   "You have a much healthier, freer flow of blood to your brain," he explained. "And what that means is your brain can regulate the rest of your body far more effectively."   It brings the right chemicals, the right nutrients," he said. "You can heal in all the different areas that otherwise are chewed up with stress."  "And the same thing happens: all of your blood vessels relax and so blood flows exactly where it's needed in your body," Reduced stress can mean a stronger immune system. So people in love are less likely to get a cold or the flu.  Even if they do, recovery is faster.  


- Have higher survival rates from life-threatening diseases.
- Are more likely to exercise, floss, drink less alcohol. 
- Are more likely to get regular health screenings.

So if you're feeling unloved, instead of focusing on getting love, try giving love first and see how it comes back to you.  According to Lodge, that's easier than you might think.  "There are always things you can begin doing for other people," he said. "Simply begin looking for people who are worse off than you, people who need something: tutoring school kids, getting involved in after school sports programs, homeless shelters, libraries.  "There's no shortage of need for you to step up and help," he said.                                                                                                                             

Loving relationships can even be found with pets. Studies show that owning a dog or cat reduces a person's stress level. People with pets are less likely to suffer a heart attack.  The bottom line is, humans are not meant to live isolated lives.  If you make the effort to get connected to other people and to build loving relationships, you'll be happier and healthier.                                                                                        
For this reason it is good to tell family members and trusted friends your HIV status and become involved in support groups and interact with other HIV+ people.   By reaching out and trusting people, you can get love and support to help you deal with your health.  You can keep your close friends and loved ones informed about issues that are important to you.  You can get the most appropriate health care.  You can reduce the chances of transmitting the disease to others.  So for those who haven’t done so already, make this Valentines Day the day in which you begin to reach out to give, and receive love.  It’s good for you

I hope you have found this post helpful. 

Credits:  Dr. Harry Lodge, Younger Next Year.  Workman Publishing Company.                                                
                :Gump, B. B., Polk, D. E., Kamarck, T. W., & Shiffman, S. M. (2001).  Partner interactions are associated with                       
                reduced blood pressure n the natural environment:  Ambulatory monitoring evidence from a healthy,       
                multiethnic adult sample.  Psychosomatic Medicine, 63, 423-433.

Stay healthy, compliant with you ARV regimen and safe.  Spread the love, not the virus.

Malcolm Brown.

NO PLHIV is alone with his or her struggle with HIV!"


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