Eric K. Mason
Using 12-Step Approach with Clients who are HIV positive
This course dealt with using the 12-step approach for addiction treatment with clients who are HIV positive and unique issues that may arise for using this approach with clients who are HIV positive. The 12-step approach is most closely associated with AA and NA, but there are other groups such as CA (cocaine addicts anonymous) and GA (gamblers anonymous). Although the 12-step approach may be just as effective or ineffective (depending on client) as with clients who are HIV negative, the course pointed out that HIV positive clients may need to be prepped for the norms of AA and NA before attending such meetings.
For example, AA and NA have their how values and traditions, which forms the norms of the group. There groups have their own cultures. One of the norms of this groups is to encourage honest in all areas of one’s life. These groups encourage this because they believe that dishonesty enables them to sustain their addiction, or the addiction to sustain itself.
This course discussed that HIV clients may not benefit from revealing their HIV status to AA or NA groups and that seeking support from HIV support groups for HIV related difficulties may be more appropriate. In other words, HIV positive people would need to compartmentalize their supports groups. For example, when seeking help for addiction, they may attend AA or NA, but when seeking help for HIV related problems, AA or NA may not be appropriate. The course pointed out that if there people were to reveal their HIV status, they may be judged negatively by the AA or NA group, which may lead them to stop attending NA or AA meetings. In turn, this could jeopardize their sobriety. Therefore, HIV positive clients may follow AA and NA and their values and norms in regards to their addiction, but when it comes their HIV status, they may be better not being honest. They can choose to be honest regarding their HIV status when attending an HIV support group.