HIV/AIDS Counselor

Help HIV/AIDS patients cope with the challenges of the disease.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$24,000 – $69,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do HIV/AIDS Counselors do?

As an HIV/AIDS Counselor, you deal with people who are undergoing HIV testing, or have been confirmed to have contracted HIV or AIDS. In both cases, patients need an attentive, reassuring presence in their lives, and that’s what an HIV/AIDS Counselor provides.

Before a test is administered, the HIV/AIDS Counselor discusses various outcomes with the patient. Medical science has advanced remarkably since AIDS was discovered, and patients who test positive can still live long, healthy, productive lives.

For positive and negative results alike, you have a dual role: care and prevention. For people who test negative, you discuss safe sex behaviors and lifestyle choices (condom use, abstaining from shared needles, etc.) that can reduce their chances of contracting the disease. For patients with HIV/AIDS, on the other hand, you will almost definitely refer them to medical services.

Your counseling response for these patients is twofold: You help them come to terms with the disease, and you also teach them lifestyle practices to avoid spreading the disease to others. In addition to working directly with individuals and small groups, you could also be called upon to help educate the local community.

This can be an extremely rewarding job, but it can also be extremely challenging — both mentally and emotionally. You deal with people at very stressful junctures in their lives. The uncertainty surrounding a test result or the massive life change that accompanies a positive result is not an easy thing to deal with every single working day. Also, dealing with terminal patients is a regular part of most HIV/AIDS Counselor careers.

For this reason, many seek counseling of their own. Until HIV/AIDS is eradicated, there will always be a need for Counselors in this area. If you have the emotional strength, you could make a difference in the lives and futures of many.

Should I be a HIV/AIDS Counselor?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • How to become a HIV/AIDS Counselor

    We recommend at least a Bachelor's degree. Check out these schools offering HIV/AIDS Counselor-related education!
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