Hooray for summertime! There’s something about the longer days and warmer nights that helps bring out the traveler in all of us.
“Traveling has an element of spontaneity and the unknown,” says Joni Lavick, MFT. “You never know what can happen.” She sees this as potentially a great thing for people who are living with HIV.
Lavick has been working with HIV positive patients since 1988. She has a private practice in Santa Monica and is a clinical supervisor at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center. “One of the challenges of being HIV positive is having the resilience to stay on top of it,” she says. “It requires a lot of mental-health energy to be able to spring back.” She believes travel can play an important role in bolstering this necessary resilience.
When we arrive in a different country, we often have to deal with a
different culture, language, climate—you name it. “We give ourselves
credit for achieving the smallest, silliest things when we are traveling,”
Lavick explains, like reading a map correctly, figuring out a new transportation
system to get to the next museum, or just finding our hotel.
Experiencing new things—and the resourcefulness it requires—helps us tackle other challenges, including those that are health related. “You know inside yourself that you have the ability to take on new things as they are thrown your way,” says Lavick.
So, even though packing your meds, avoiding new infections, and locating medical services away from home might seem overwhelming (especially if it’s your first time traveling with HIV), there are lots of
good reasons for you to take that trip. Lavick considers it a great opportunity to “get out of your head” and take the focus off of yourself.
Doing your homework and being prepared—including talking with
your doctor, carefully researching your destination, and getting any necessary
pre-trip medications—can help take the anxiety out of traveling
so you can relax and enjoy your time away.
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