For people living with HIV, reviews – benefits, tenancy, medication et al – can be stressful but it’s important to realise they’re just part of the process.
When you have a Centrelink review, a tenancy inspection or medication review with your doctor, it can be easy to trigger feelings of unwanted stress and anxiety. Some of us have no problems dealing with these feelings, but for many others it’s not that simple.
As people living with HIV, we can easily feel like it’s just one more thing, especially when there are multiple medical appointments or job support or accommodation assessments. These might not be directly related to your HIV, but they can add to your load. Your emotional and mental health play a big part in feeling anxiety or stress and it’s very common to assume a negative result rather than a positive one.
It can be useful to keep in mind, that any review is only part of a bigger process in getting what you need to live your life comfortably. Many of these reviews are part of a broader legislative process, for example tenancy agreement reviews with FaCS Housing tend to be scheduled automatically every two or five years. It’s not personal! Usually these have been triggered for no other reason than ‘it’s time’ and a computer generated letter is in the post.
A Centrelink review could uncover other supports and benefits you might not be aware of, but entitled to receive. A tenant inspection can mean a chance to get routine repairs made to things you’re putting up with around the house. Medication reviews are a regular part of keeping your health on track and makes sure you are taking the most effective drugs with the least side effects.
Keeping the bigger picture in mind can help you cope with anxious or fearful feelings. Your GP or other counsellors or social workers can help you develop your own effective personal strategies to manage this kind of stress, anxiety, fear or depression.
If you feel that you need some extra support to help you through a review, Positive Life has peer-support advocates who can often provide the support that you need. A peer-support advocate is someone who stands beside you and can help you speak up for your rights. An advocate will support you to ask for what you need or want in a situation and we can either help you sort out a problem yourself or be there to work out how to resolve things together with you. These might include attending a meeting with you or on your behalf, writing you a letter of support or making phone calls with you or on your behalf.
Positive Life employs peers living with HIV, who can act in this advocacy role for you.
If you’re living with HIV and would like some extra help with your accommodation applications or housing needs, or you have questions or concerns about your health and HIV medications, or if you think you’ve been treated differently because of your HIV, you can pick up the phone and call (02) 9206-2177 or 1800 245 677 (free call) or email firstname.lastname@example.org