Accompanying a friend to get tested for HIV
January 18, 2014 3:21 PM   Subscribe

In about an hour I am accompanying a close friend in his mid-20s getting tested for HIV. How can I be supportive both during and after the testing, regardless of outcome?
posted by Corduroy to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
Response by poster: (To be clear, friend isn't getting tested 'just to be safe', but due to unprotected sex several months ago with someone whose partner is HIV positive. He is incredibly anxious.)
posted by Corduroy at 3:30 PM on January 18, 2014

Be present and let your friend do the talking. If there's a negative outcome don't try to tell them what they should or shouldn't feel about it.

When I found out I had cancer, a friend got me some ice cream and hugged me and listened and sat with me. She stayed calm and let me freak out. I'll always be grateful.
posted by bunderful at 3:35 PM on January 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

Yes, just being there physically, listening and not trying to inject yourself too much into the conversation should be just the ticket.
posted by xingcat at 4:11 PM on January 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Be sure your friend understands any instructions that were given for future care, especially if the instructions are not printed for him. Apart form that, your role is support as described above.
posted by Cranberry at 4:35 PM on January 18, 2014

I find this piece on the "ring theory" when someone is dealing with a trauma to be incredibly helpful. It echoes the advice other commenters have already left and is useful in so many difficult situations.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 4:36 PM on January 18, 2014 [9 favorites]

Yes, write down any useful information or referrals that your friend may not be capturing, and otherwise listen and hug and nod.
posted by gingerbeer at 4:42 PM on January 18, 2014

Bring paper and pen, and be ready to take notes if needed. (I am accompanying my best friend through cancer treatment these days, and it turns out that because of high stress levels all around, it's incredibly difficult to recall all the details of convos with docs, nurses, social worker-types, etc.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:47 PM on January 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks all. He's negative! :)
posted by Corduroy at 7:42 PM on January 18, 2014 [20 favorites]

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