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Dear All


            Emotion is part of our life. Emotion will influence the way we think and act. As you know the felling or affection inside us are compromising (including) the
symptom of physiologic (e.g. the faster heart beating) and the manner (act)
which we can see (e.g. smiling, angry, fear expression). There are two
characteristics of emotions, positive and negative affectivity. Positive
affective connected to positive emotions (e.g. happy, satisfy, etc) and
negative affectivity connected to negative emotions (e.g. angry, sad, etc). One
of the functions of emotion is adaptation and survival. As an example: We know
HIV derivates with stigma and discrimination. PLWHA's have scared if, peoples know that they had been infected by HIV. The fear emotion will
lead PLWHA to learn adapt and learn to survival in comprehending and knowing
the limit among the condition and possibilities which would thread or endanger

            Afraid of some thing is normal emotion to human, but if that fear exceed and unrealistic like what had happened to NG (one of PLWHA in my home town) and I thought id
did not make a sense. I write down the condition which had happened to NG below

            I was in front of the drug store of general hospital of Nusa Tenggara Province. I was going to
buy mouth was. Trough the big glass window I saw NG stood next to the desk
submitted her medicament chart of ARV and prescription. I walked inside the drug
store and stood next to her. She looked so pale and every body could easily saw
her anxiety. Then I made some short conversation to say hello because I know
her. I heard her voice trembled fully by fear when she answered the called of
the pharmacist called her name out. When got all we need we walked out and went
the parking area. She started get back to normal slowly. While we were walking
together I asked her did she have any opportunistic infections because she
looked so pale. She said no and she told me she just scared if some else know
her that she had been infected by HIV from the ARV she accessed. That condition
always happened every time she came to the drug store to access ARV.

            Referred to the true NG experienced had happened. I shared that to the member of PLWHA peer support group. The result shocked me because from 11 PLWHA, 7 of them revealed
that they feel the same, to the thing that had happened to NG. They told me
that to access ARV, they always asked to some one that they can trust and know
that they have HIV. I had discussed that fears to another 2 PLWHA peer support
group and the result not much different. But all of them want to life their
life with no fear(phobia) to sigma and discrimination.

            We (me and two colleagues) searched the literature about phobia, and we believe that   the most related phobia to the fears of PLWHA
in my home island is Neo Phobia or Thrypo phobia (thropo phobia). Neo phobia is
phobia to some thing new and Thrypo phobia is phobia to make a change or to
change some that they want to change.

            We adapted the method of Nycto phobia (phobia to the dark) and the only therapy that we can have, to therapy two PLWHA whom willing to be our voluntary since
six month ago. The result is one success and another one failed.

            We know that we are amateurs. That’s why in the aids competence, we asked for help, to tell us or inform us about the therapy of neo phobia and Trypo phobia. We
would to learn and adapted the method to reduce their fears to sigma and
discrimination among the PLWHA in my home island.

            To all have read my text I thank so much, and awaiting for your response about the problem above.


Sincerely Yours.

Gusto aihan.

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Replies to This Discussion

Dear Gusto,

I don't have experience with therapies in terms of Phobia. But I definitely have experience with dealing with my own emotions :-)

Two experiences I want to share:

- using your breath: whenever I feel emotional (angry, fearful, or something else) I got back to my breath, meaning that I follow my breath. When we focus on our inhale and exhale, we focus our mind on something in the present moment which helps to dissipate the fears of the future or regrets in the past.
So basic meditation techniques will help the PLHIV a lot. It can be walking or sitting meditation.
I recommend one of the books of Thich Nhat Hanh 'every step is peace' or 'present moment, wonderful moment'.

- Emotional Freedom Technique: very simple 'tapping' method that anyone can use on themself. You can access all info and a manual on
This technique is based on the fact that emotions are a disruption of the energy body flow. By tapping on certain areas of the body we reestablish the flow and the emotion is neutralized. EFT is very powerful and helps thousands of people around the world with phobia, addictions, trauma's, etc.

I hope this helps. Good luck!

Dear Gusto,
I do not know if the way of dealing with stigma and discrimination is similar to that of a phobia as I am not sure that fear of disclosure because it might involve being discriminated against is a mental disorder comparable to phobia.

I find Laurence's recomendations to deal with physical symptoms of fear really useful, but stigma and discrimination have also a collective component that goes beyond individual fears and if stigma and discrimination are ocurring, then the fear of people living with HIV in the area are very concrete and workable within the community.

So unless fear of disclosure is completely out of reality, I don't see how the treatment as a phobia could work.

Wouldn't it be good to work in the support group with the group's fear to the disclosure outcomes thus making it a social/community issue instead of a mental/individual problem? And also, it could help to identify how the group and the community could work together in addressing the issue.

Hope this is of help and wish you the best
Reply by Nicole Cole-Commissioner-Women and Gender Equality Commission (Guyana)
Greetings Gusto,
People who are infected with HIV can be overwhelmed with Fear from time to time and it is natural given the fact that FEAR is part of our Biological Self. The FEAR felt is real and it may come from the fact that "Stigma and Discrimination" is still very strong towards PLWHAs. FEAR is a natural "defense mechanisim" that we are created with to "PROTECT" ourselves from HARM. When an individual feels FEAR, the Brain sends the "Message" of "Fight" or "Flight" in response to the "Threat" it perceives as "LIFE-THREATENING". The other person expressing FEAR towards a PLHIV is naturally trying to protect Herself or Himself from "imminent" HARM given the FACT that there is no KNOWN CURE for HIV. FEAR of DEATH is NATURAL to all Species including Homo Sapiens Sapiens i.e. Humans.

Breathing Techniques are always Best to deal with FEAR as it helps to calm the nerves. A sense of Self is also a good tool to deal with FEAR. If one is confident in Self it helps one to face challenges in general be it FEAR or LOVE!

Meditation is also a technique that brings great joy to the Soul; it calms the mind and brings "inner-peace". Inner Peace is the Key to overcoming your FEAR. Seek to find Peace and pursue it. Pray daily for Strength and Courage! Jah Bless!

Nicole Cole
Peace Ambassador-Universal Peace Federation
Hello Gusto and everyone,

Thanks for sharing such a powerful history and bringing to debate important and concrete question.
Well, when it comes to experience, I fear (negative emotion) to be judging people's life and recommend unnecessary changes. Why do I say this, I've learned that whatever problem takes place wherever and whenever with whomever, its solution lies on the will and act of that very person. He or she is the one who knows the roots, growth and effects of the problem. You made a very important step, by consulting from other people leaving with HIV if they experience the same feeling, however you don't tell us if whether did you get from them the why of their emotion. I mean, known solutions for known problems. From now I extract two problems: 1) fear of people living with HIV (that is not clearly identified). Fear itself ca never be a problem since it takes place without pre-meditation, but what causes it. If clearly identified, then we may get to understand what can/should be done. 2) your doubt or curiosity to know more about fear on people living with HIV and how there situation can be changed.

If I'm not wrong on understanding your writing, then for both problems, the solution lies on you going back to them and honestly and openly put your problem (what disturbs you), what you think and attentively listen to them. Likewise, you mentioned that within 11 people you got 7 with same situation, but did you, for instance, ask the other 4 members of the group why were they different?

As per my understanding a counselor should be an agle person, because he/she should have large ears, big eyes and small (but very small) mouth. in other words, should pay large listening, big and attentive look and small speech (reduced to questioning).

I hope I may have not increased your doubt... thanks again for such pertinent discussion.


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