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PERSONS DIAGNOSED WITH HIV AND HEPATITIS C

Living with HIV or hepatitis C can be associated with high potential for discrimination and stigma. It is especially important, during difficult phases of life, that there be a legitimate human need to talk to family or friends about the difficulties concerned and how better to cope with them. However, the fear of exclusion and other disadvantages often leads to persons suffering from HIV or hepatitis C keeping their condition secret. This is one of the many mental stresses that HIV or hepatitis C infection can bring with it.

The Introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART) in 1996 turned HIV into a “merely” chronic condition. Before that year, the main task associated with persons suffering from HIV / AIDS involved dealing with their impending death. Thanks to this highly positive progress in medicine, issues of lifetime support have been brought to the fore when it comes to working with people suffering from HIV / AIDS.

This change in the clinical nature of the condition means that problems affecting persons with HIV / AIDS have become much more complex. Suffering from HIV can result in a very precarious life.

The legal assistance available was for a long time inadequate for meeting the needs of people with HIV and hepatitis C. Our programme of care tailored to the personal needs of persons with HIV and hepatitis C is designed to close the corresponding gaps and considerably improve the quality of  legal guardianship care available to the lesbians, gays and bisexuals of greater Berlin.

We have a great amount of expertise at our disposal concerning HIV and hepatitis C. As we are familiar with your situation, we know how we can best assist you. So take advantage of this factor.

Are you making your own efforts to look for a legal guardian? Your wishes are of great significance when it comes to selecting the carer concerned. You just need to nominate your desired legal guardian to the court.

As the lives of persons with HIV and hepatitis C can often be characterised by specific sets of problems, we recommend that you select a professional specialised in the care of people affected by these conditions.

Legal Guardianship prerequisites in the context of HIV and hepatitis C

We are lucky to live at a time in which HIV is, if not yet curable, at least efficiently treatable with antiretroviral drugs. But even in an age where HIV can be treated with highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART), the condition is still associated with considerable stresses and restrictions.

HIV infection is many faceted, and it affects each person in different ways, with a correspondingly wide range of resulting problems.

Life with HIV or hepatitis C can entail a multitude of physical, psychological and social stresses, such as secondary illnesses, the side-effects of HIV / hepatitis C drugs, fear for the future, discrimination, stigma and feelings of guilt, etc., resulting in turn in dependency-related and physical and mental conditions that make professional help necessary.

The change in the clinical nature of the condition means that HIV / AIDS-related problems have become much more complex. We are familiar with the difficulties involved, and know how to provide the right support.

A legal guardian can be appointed on your behalf if you are legally of age and unable, due to a mental or physical disability, to control all or some of your affairs.

The prerequisites for appointing a legal care worker for a person suffering from HIV and hepatitis C might be based on grounds such as:

Persons with HIV and hepatitis C often tend to suffer more from mental conditions such as depression or addiction, for example. Many mentally ill persons with HIV or hepatitis C may, due to their disability, no longer able to deal with their own affairs, and therefore require the professional support of a legal care worker.

HIV or hepatitis C may have triggered physical or social stress factors, thereby provoking a crisis or even a mental condition or illness. HIV, or the secondary effects of the drugs used to treat it, might also have a direct effect on your mental state. You might even be suffering as a result of mental illness accompanied by HIV.

Mental conditions such as depression or dependency are far more prevalent among persons suffering from HIV or hepatitis C infection than they are among those who are not. A mental condition can also be triggered regardless of the state of the HIV / hepatitis C suffered.

The list of possible mental conditions and illnesses also includes neuroses and personality disorders. Mental conditions can lead to a situation where you are no longer able to manage some or all of your own affairs, possibly giving rise to a need for the support of a legal care worker.

The effects of suffering from an HIV or hepatitis C infection or other stress factors can also lead to you becoming addicted to such substances as alcohol. Or perhaps you have become infected with HIV or hepatitis C as a result of intravenous drug use. Dependency problems might lead to a situation where you require the professional assistance of a legal care worker in order to settle your affairs.

Demographic changes are such that the elderly proportion of the population with HIV or hepatitis C is likely to grow considerably in the next few years. Proper legal care is therefore of increasing importance for older persons suffering from HIV or hepatitis C. A situation may arise where your HIV or other factors give rise to dementia and other neurological conditions.

The treatment of HIV is fortunately only rarely accompanied by serious conditions such as dementia. However, brain function disorders attributable to HIV, such as concentration or attention deficit disorder, memory loss or retardation can also accompany the corresponding therapy.

If HIV infection is detected too late, or if the drugs used to treat it are not taken or taken only irregularly, due – for example – to failure to follow the programme of therapy, diseases of the central nervous system can still occur despite today’s availability of antiretroviral treatments. These can be provoked by opportunistic infection or by HIV itself.

A deteriorated mental state can lead to a situation where you are no longer able to manage some or all of your own affairs, possibly giving rise to a need for the support of a legal care worker.

Physical illness can also give rise to a need for legal care assistance, if lack of mobility means that you are no longer able to manage some or all of your own affairs.