If I have just tested positive to HIV, what do I do next?

If this is all new to you, it will take time to get your bearings and build up your strength to deal positively with your new life. It will also depend on where in the world you live.

The following suggestions may help:

  1. Take some time to let the information sink in – unless you have symptoms – ie you feel ill – there is rarely any urgency to starting treatment, however the latest WHO guidelines recommend starting ART treatment as soon as you are diagnosed.
  2. Ask at the centre that you tested at, where your closest and best HIV doctors work – I know healthcare systems vary greatly in different countries. In the UK Sexual Health Departments can test and diagnose if you are positive, and then arrange for you to see a Sexual Health Advisor who can discuss your diagnosis with you.
  3. You will need to have a blood test called ‘CD4 T cell count’ to see whether HIV has affected your immune system yet, and a viral load test if it is available in your country.
  4. Find some good sources of accurate, easy to understand, clear information so you can learn about your diagnosis, and the benefits of treatment, if and when you need it, you can go through the other FAQs on this page, go to the Links page and get good information from those sites. You can also visit our Contact page where you can ask a question or send us a message. Please visit our Blog page where you can read posts from other HIV Poz people about their own stories and issues related.to HIV.
  5. It is difficult to deal with an HIV diagnosis on your own. Consider telling a close friend that you trust, or see whether there is an HIV support group or organisation in your area. It can help to meet and know other people in a similar situation. Many organisations also offer support services, such as phonelines, where you can talk anonymously, if this is important to you at first.

Things will get easier, although it may take time, remember you are not alone, we are here to help.

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