My best friend has just told me that he’s been diagnosed with HIV. I don’t know what to say to him or what to do. Can you help?

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The first thing to think about is the fact that your friend has told you about his HIV diagnosis for a reason – he wants you to know.

It may be that he’s looking for some support or a listening ear when he’s finding it hard to cope. He obviously trusts you or he wouldn’t have said anything to you in the first place.

Sometimes after a diagnosis, people can feel quite overwhelmed and often alone. There’s often a real fear of being rejected too.

Let him know that you’re there for him when he needs you. Let him know that he can talk to you about his fears and his anxieties. Let him know that you’re up for a night out with him when things get too much and he just needs a pint and a laugh.

You don’t have to be an expert – but you’d be doing your friend a massive favour if you learned some basic HIV facts – http://www.hivaware.org.uk is a good place to start. At least then you’ll understand what he’s talking about.

Above all, don’t panic. Your friend is in a good place because he knows his HIV status and he can now manage his health better than he could if he didn’t know.

Be the best friend you can be – tell him you’re the same friend that you were before his diagnosis and that he can count on you to be there for him.

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