Your religion

Some people with HIV feel they get a lot of support from their religious beliefs, from rituals or from natural remedies. Others get nothing from those things.

How do you view disease based on your religious beliefs?
Are you ashamed of your HIV? Or do your religious convictions actually help you to give your HIV a place in your life?geloof Christianity condemns dissolute behaviour but is also merciful towards people who are ill. Islam holds that people are obliged to do everything they can to keep themselves healthy. So if you become seriously ill, that is the fate that Allah has determined for you. Hindus see disease – like everything else in life – as inseparably linked with a person’s karma. By being faithful to their convictions, Hindus hope that the good gods will protect them from evil and unhealthy forces. How do you view disease from the perspective of your faith?

Treatments with a religious background
If you are ill, you can get into contact with a ‘healer’ who can help you on the basis of your religious beliefs. You could certainly benefit from this. You might be able to discuss with that healer whether or not you are ready to start taking HIV medications. Or, if you are having trouble with side effects, that healer might be able to help you with that. But such healers can never actually heal you of HIV. A so- called ‘HIV healing’ is therefore complete nonsense! In other words, you always also have to go to the doctor in hospital. Only a doctor in hospital can give you a treatment with HIV medications, and that is the only kind of treatment that has proved to be effective: thanks to that treatment, many people with HIV are able to lead healthy lives for years and years. It is definitely advisable to tell the doctor or nurse in hospital that you are also going to a different kind of healer. That way, they can make sure that treatment will not conflict with the treatment you get from hospital. Here are a few examples of healers and treatments with a religious background:

Winti treatment
You might benefit from a Winti treatment by a traditional Surinamese healer. The bonuman or bonuwoman can help you with all kinds of problems. The bonuman gets advice from ancestors and can give you medicines made from plants and herbs.

Hindu caregiver
If you are Hindu, you could benefit from treatment by one or more Hindu caregivers. Mysticism plays an important role in this kind of treatment. Hindu caregivers make use of information from dreams and astrology. They sometimes also work with medicinal plants.

Traditional Turkish or Moroccan healer
Muslims can call in a traditional healer to restrain evil forces. Such a healer can read verses from the Koran out loud or make an amulet with Koran verses that you can wear on your chest.

Islamic objection to blood test?
When you get your blood tested, a couple of little vials of blood will be drawn from you with a hypodermic needle. If you are a Muslim, you might object to this. Of course, blood is a sign of vitality, but you cannot run out of blood. Your body produces its own blood, just as your body grows its own hair and nails. By the end of the day on which your blood was drawn for testing, your body will already have replaced whatever blood was removed.

Fasting
Even if your religion calls for a period of fasting, it is important to take your pills on time and with food if that is required. If you do not do that, you will increase the chances that your pills will stop working for you at some point. You need to take your pills will a glass of water; with some pills you also need to eat something when you take them. Many Muslims are not aware that Islam allows for an exemption from fasting for people who are ill.

If your Islamic convictions mean that you have problems with getting blood tests and/or taking your pills while you are fasting, you can discuss that with an imam. It is advisable to talk about that with your nurse or doctor as well.

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