When someone you know finds out that they are HIV+ or have AIDS, you may feel inadequate to help. But at this crisis moment of their lives, they need you more than ever! Here are some suggested guidelines on how to be a friend and an encouragement:

    1. Stop-by for a visit! But make sure you call ahead. Your friend may not feel up to a visit that day, and you can always visit on another occasion. But now is the time when your friendship can help keep loneliness and fear at a distance.
    2. Make sure you do not avoid your friend. Be there because it instills hope. Be the friend, the loved one, you have always been, especially now when it is most important.
    3. Express true love and compassion. A simple squeeze of the hand or a genuine hug can let him or her know that you really care.
    4. Be a true Friend. Weep with your friend when he or she weeps. Laugh when they laugh. It is healthy to share these intimate experiences.
    5. Don’t be afraid to share the joy of knowing Jesus with your friend, but don’t be overbearing. Don’t demand immediate spiritual maturity, and full understanding. Be sensitive, and remember, you didn’t get where you are in a day. On some occasions, the best witness is a simple prayer or a kindness. But encourage them to know that God loves them.
    6. Pray, and Know that God can heal, even the most difficult sickness. It’s okay, when praying with your friend, to give him hope by asking God to manifest His healing power. However, don’t make your friend feel guilty if healing does not take place. Jesus is the healer and may have other plans for your friend.
    7. Call and say you would like to bring a favorite meal. Ask what time and day would be best for you to visit. Spend time sharing that meal.
    8. Invite your friend or family member to go for a walk or outing. Be sensitive to any limitations.
    9. Offer to help answer any correspondence or help pay bills.
    10. Call your friend and find out if anything is needed from the store. Ask for a shopping list and make a delivery to your friend’s house.
    11. Celebrate holidays, if possible, with your friend by decorating their home or hospital room. Bring flowers or special treasures. Or Include your friend in your holiday festivities at home.
    12. Stay in contact, when possible, with your friend’s family. Family members are affected by HIV/AIDS too. They may have unique needs along the way.
    13. Go shopping and bless your friend. Buy them something that is a special treat. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
    14. Be creative. Bring books, periodicals, taped music, a video, some home-baked cookies or delicacies to share.
    15. Don’t give-up! You may feel inadequate or apprehensive. It’s very natural to feel like you don’t have all of the answers-because you don’t! Ask God for wisdom.
    16. It’s okay to ask “How are you feeling today?”, but be sensitive to whether or not your friend wants to discuss it.
    17. Like everyone else, a person with HIV/AIDS can have both good and bad days. On the bad days, however, treat your friend with extra care and compassion.
    18. Can you drive? Take your friend to the store, or to the bank, the physician, church, shopping or a movie. How about just a ride to the beach or a park?
    19. Read to your friend. Sometimes, reading becomes difficult. We suggest the Bible, the newspaper, a Christian magazine and of course, our book , He Intends Victory.
    20. Be prepared for your friend to get angry with you for “no reason”, although it seems you have been there and done everything you could. Remember, anger and frustration are often taken out on people most loved because it is safe and will be understood.
    21. Share outside information. Keep your friend up-to-date on mutual friends and other common interests. Your friend may be tired of talking about symptoms, doctors and treatments.
    22. Discuss current events. What’s new in the news? Help keep your friend from feeling that the world is passing them by.
    23. Volunteer to do household chores. Perhaps doing the laundry, washing dishes, watering plants, feeding and walking pets. This may be appreciated more than you realize. However, don’t do what your friend can do and wants to do for himself.
    24. Be careful not to lecture or direct anger at your friend if he or she seems to be handling the illness in a way that you think is inappropriate. You may not understand what their feelings are and why certain choices are being made.
    25. Do not confuse acceptance of the illness with defeat. Sometimes acceptance may free your friend to accept God’s better plan for his or her life.
    26. Do not allow your friend to become isolated. Let them know about support groups, Bible studies, and other practical services offered by your church, ministry, and He Intends Victory. We’d be glad to call as well, but get permission first.
    27. Talk about the future with your friend … tomorrow, next week, next year. It is good to look toward the tomorrow without denying the reality of today.
    28. Share with your pastor and Christian friends your own feelings of grief, helplessness, and inadequacy. Getting the emotional and spiritual support you need will help you to be there for the person who has HIV/AIDS.
    29. Confidentiality is of utmost importance! Don’t share anything with anyone that you are not at liberty to share!!!
    30. And remember to pray again for your friend or family member, for their family members, and that God would use you as a messenger of His love and salvation through Jesus Christ!