Accept Your New Normal
Living with HIV marks a new phase of your life. But if you take your HIV medicines as prescribed, it can be as healthy, active, and fulfilling as before. Make it a priority to take care of your body and mind. Get help if you feel depressed, and stay connected to people in your life you love and who support you.
CDC: “Basic Statistics,” “A Glance at the HIV/AIDS Epidemic,” âAct Against AIDS: Conversation Starters,â âHIV/AIDS: Telling Others,â âBreastfeeding: Human Immunodeficiency Virus ,â âAIDS and Opportunistic Infections.â
University of California, San Francisco HIVInsite: “I just tested positive — now what?”
AIDS InfoNet: “Safer Sex Guidelines.”
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “HIV Infection and AIDS: An Overview.”
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: âJust Diagnosed: Next Steps After Testing Positive for HIV,â âHow to Find HIV Treatment Services,â âHIV/AIDS: The Basics,â âHIV and Mental Health,â âState HIV/AIDS Hotlines.â
HIV.gov: âTalking About Your HIV Status: Should You Tell Other People About Your Positive Test Results?â âPreventing Sexual Transmission of HIV.â
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: âHIV/AIDS: Protect Others,â âFind Support,â âBe Aware of Possible Complications.â
Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange : âYour Guide to HIV Treatment: Monitoring Your Health.â
A Sexually Transmitted Infection
Katie Salerno/Flickr Creative Commons
Some STIs like syphilis and herpes cause open sores that make it easier for HIV to enter the body. Others like gonorrhea and chlamydia cause inflammation in the genitals that attracts the very immune cells that HIV likes to target and infect.
Having syphilis can increase your risk of HIV by as much as 500%. Other STIs can do the same. Because of this, you should be tested for HIV if you test positive for any STI.
If I Am Pregnant And Have Hiv Will My Baby Also Have Hiv
Most women with HIV can protect their baby from becoming infected during pregnancy. Proper pre-natal treatment can reduce the risk that an HIV-positive mother will pass the virus to her child to less than 1 percent. The only way these special treatments can be provided is if the health care professionals know the mother is living with HIV. Treatment is most effective when started early in pregnancy. HIV-positive moms should not breastfeed their babies because HIV is sometimes passed this way.
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What Is The Testing Process Like
You can also do home tests which are discreet and easy to use.
Many clinics offer finger-prick blood tests, but home testing kits vary. You may be directed to take a swab from your vagina or throat, give a urine sample, or give a finger-prick blood sample.
Dr Dutt assures that none of the tests should hurt and they should not take long to carry out. They can be done privately in your home or with a professional, depending on what’s comfortable for you.
Depending on the type of test, results can take a few minutes, or a few days to come back. If your first test is positive, a second blood test will need to be carried out to confirm the result.
If your test comes back positive, you’ll be referred to a specialist HIV clinic for some more tests and a discussion about your treatment options.
Being Honest With Your Healthcare Professional
Be honest with your healthcare professional, they are not there to judge you, but help you make decisions so that they can plan and manage your care appropriately.
Its important to share information such as your sexuality as well as your alcohol and drug use history, as these factors can contribute to different risks, for example, complications with your treatment or sexually transmitted infections .
If you have any underlying health conditions or STIs, its important to get treated for these too. Sometimes different treatments interact with each other, so your healthcare professional needs to know what other drugs you might be taking.
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How Do People Feel When Diagnosed With Hiv
HIV diagnosis can cause different reactions in different people, but common feelings include shock, anger, fear, and sadness. It is possible that you will have questions about how you got the virus, and what will happen to you after it has occurred. There is nothing inherently wrong with these emotions and questions.
See An Hiv And Aids Doctor Right Away
After finding out you have HIV, fear about the future may make it hard for you to take action. But once you know you’re HIV-positive, see a doctor with experience in HIV and AIDS as soon as you can. Don’t put it off. Your doctor will run tests to see how well your immune system is working, how fast the HIV is progressing, and how healthy your body is overall. With this and other information, your doctor can work with you to come up with the best treatment plan, including when and how to begin treatment. HIV drugs can often slow or prevent the progression of HIV to AIDS. Left untreated, though, HIV can lead to serious illness and death.
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What To Do After Being Diagnosed As Hiv
Articles On HIV Testing
If you’ve just found out that you’re HIV-positive, you may feel overwhelmed, fearful, and alone. But youre far from alone. People and resources are available to help you and the more than 1 million HIV-positive people living in the U.S. today.
It may help to remember that being HIV-positive is not the virtual death sentence it once was. HIV can lead to AIDS . But being HIV-positive does not necessarily mean that you have AIDS. New treatments have turned being HIV- positive into a chronic condition for many people. With a healthy lifestyle and the right medical care, many HIV-positive people are living long, productive lives.
Still, learning that you are HIV-positive may leave you reeling. Where should you turn for help? Who should you tell? What should you do first? Here are a few guideposts to help you through this difficult time.
See an HIV and AIDS Doctor Right Away
ishonestNo.371 – Blackheads
Learn What It Means to Be HIV-Positive
Information is power, especially when that information can save your life. These steps will allow you to take an active role in your care.
- Read about HIV in other sections of this website.
- Seek information from government or nonprofit educational organizations with a focus on HIV and AIDS.
- Learn about experimental and standard HIV treatments, as well as their side effects.
- Talk with others who are HIV-positive.
Seek HIV-Positive Support Services
Tell Certain People
Protect Others From Becoming HIV-Positive
How Do You Know If You Have Hiv
While there are symptoms and early warning signs of an HIV infection, the only way to know for sure whether you have the virus is by getting tested. This needn’t be a scary process, and it’s vital you seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid further complications or infecting others.
21-Nov-21·5 mins read
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What Is The Next Step After Testing Positive For Hiv
Testing positive for HIV often leaves a person overwhelmed with questions and concerns. It is important to remember that HIV can be treated effectively with HIV medicines. Treatment with HIV medicines is recommended for everyone with HIV. HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives and reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
The first step after testing positive for HIV is to see a health care provider, even if you do not feel sick. Prompt medical care and treatment with HIV medicines as soon as possible is the best way to stay healthy.
Can Hiv/aids Be Prevented
You can reduce the risk of spreading HIV by:
- Getting tested for HIV
- Choosing less risky sexual behaviors. This includes limiting the number of sexual partners you have and using latex condoms every time you have sex. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.
- Getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted diseases
- Not injecting drugs
- Talking to your health care provider about medicines to prevent HIV:
- PrEP is for people who don’t already have HIV but are at very high risk of getting it. PrEP is daily medicine that can reduce this risk.
- PEP is for people who have possibly been exposed to HIV. It is only for emergency situations. PEP must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV.
NIH: National Institutes of Health
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What Is Safer Sex
We know a lot about how HIV is transmitted from person to person. Having safer sex means you take this into account and avoid risky practices.
There are two reasons to practice safer sex: to protect yourself and to protect others.
If you have HIV, you need to protect your health. When it comes to sex, this means practicing safer sex to avoid sexually transmitted diseases like herpes and hepatitis. HIV makes it harder for your body to fight off diseases. What might be a small health problem for someone without HIV could be big health problem for you. Your VA provider can prescribe condoms for you if you need them.
Protecting your partner
Taking care of others means making sure that you do not pass HIV or any other sexually transmitted infections to them.
Being safe usually means protecting yourself and others by using condoms for the highest-risk sex activities, specifically for anal and vaginal sex. When done correctly, condom use is very effective at preventing HIV transmission. In recent years, being safe has come to include two other important strategies for reducing HIV infections: 1. HIV treatment for people with HIV and, 2. PrEP for HIV negative people . Both are very effective at reducing the risk of HIV infection. One or more of them is likely to be appropriate for your situationbe sure to ask your health care provider for more information.
What about antiretroviral therapy for HIV prevention?
What about pre-exposure prophylaxis ?
Taking Antiretroviral Treatment For Hiv
If youve been diagnosed with HIV then starting treatment as soon as possible is the first step to taking care of yourself and keeping your immune system strong. Although antiretroviral treatment is not a cure for HIV, it does keep the virus under control.
Like a lot of medication, you may experience some side effects in the first few months. If they persist and are affecting your quality of life, you should be able to switch to a different drug regimen.
Once you start treatment, the key to staying well is to make sure that you take it regularly as prescribed which usually means every day at the same time. Skipping doses, or taking it at different times each day, will stop it from protecting your immune system.
If youre having problems taking your HIV treatment, talk to your healthcare professional as soon as possible to get help and support
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How Do I Talk With People About Having Hiv
It might feel scary to admit that you have HIV, but talking about things can really ease your mind. You could lean on a close, non-judgmental friend or family member whom you trust to keep the conversation private. Counselors and support groups can also be sources of comfort and they can help you figure out how to talk with others about your HIV. Be careful about who you tell your status to people with HIV sometimes deal with unfair discrimination.
Theres no one right way to talk to your partners about having HIV, but here are some basic tips that might help:
Try to stay calm and remember that youre not the only one dealing with this. Millions of people have HIV, and plenty of them are in relationships. Try to go into the conversation with a calm, positive attitude. Having HIV is a health issue, and it doesnt mean anything about you as a person.
Know your HIV and AIDS facts. There are a lot of myths about HIV out there, so read up on the facts and be ready to answer your partners questions. Check out HIV.gov. Let your partner know there are medications that can help you live for a long time and avoid passing HIV to them. Safer sex like condoms and PrEP can also help protect your partner.
Its really important to also tell your past partners that you have HIV, so they can get tested, too. A lot of health departments have programs that let your partners know they were exposed to HIV without giving them your name unless you want them to.
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Will Having Hiv Affect My Pregnancy
Babies can get infected with HIV during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding thats why its recommended that everyone get tested early in pregnancy. If you have HIV, antiretroviral medications greatly lower your chances of giving HIV to your baby. With treatment, less than 2 out of 100 babies born to women with HIV will be infected. Without treatment, about 25 out of 100 babies will be infected.
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What Do I Do If I Find Out I Have Hiv
Millions of people have HIV youre definitely not alone. Most people get at least one STD in their lifetime, and having HIV or another STD is nothing to feel ashamed of or embarrassed about. It doesnt mean youre dirty or a bad person.
Finding out that you have HIV can be really upsetting. You might feel mad, embarrassed, scared, or ashamed at first. But youll probably feel better as time goes by having a good support system and getting counseling really helps. There are medicines you can take to help you stay healthy, and lots of ways to avoid giving HIV to anyone you have sex with. The reality is, people with HIV can be in relationships, have sex, and live normal lives by taking a few precautions.
Although theres no cure for HIV, there are medicines that help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives. HIV treatment called antiretroviral therapy lowers the amount of virus in your body . This does two things:
Slows down the effects of HIV in your body, which keeps you healthy.
Lowers or even stops your chances of giving HIV to sexual partners.
Some people on ART have such a small amount of virus in their body, they cant transmit HIV to their sexual partners at all.
Even if youre feeling totally fine right now, see a doctor as soon as you can so you can talk about the best ways to stay healthy. The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions hotline can help you find a doctor near you who specializes in treating HIV: 1-800-CDC-INFO .
Where Can Someone Find Resources For A Person Just Diagnosed With Hiv
The following are resources to share with someone with newly diagnosed HIV:
- How to Find HIV Treatment Services, a fact sheet listing HIV-related resources, including resources to help find a health care provider and get help paying for HIV medicines, from HIVinfo.
- Telling Others, a webpage with information on how to share an HIV diagnosis with others, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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What Happens If My Test Is Positive
If you test positive for HIV, it is important to remember that with treatment you can live a long, healthy life. In fact, with early treatment, people with HIV can live about as long as people that are not infected.
A team approach will help you get the medical care and support that you need. Start by talking to your doctor or the counselor or social worker at the testing site. He or she can help you with suggestions on how to talk to your parents or guardians and how to find a health care provider who’s an HIV specialist. By starting treatment as soon as possible, you can stay healthy and learn to live well with HIV.
What Are The Factors That Affect Disease Progression
The most important factor affecting HIV progression is the ability to achieve viral suppression. Taking antiretroviral therapy regularly helps many people slow the progression of HIV and reach viral suppression.
However, a variety of factors affect HIV progression, and some people progress through the phases of HIV more quickly than others.
Factors that affect HIV progression can include:
- Ability to achieve viral suppression. Whether someone can take their antiretroviral medications and achieve viral suppression is the most important factor by far.
- Age when symptoms start. Being older can result in faster progression of HIV.
- Health before treatment. If a person had other diseases, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis C, or other sexually transmitted diseases , it can affect their overall health.
- Timing of diagnosis. Another important factor is how soon a person was diagnosed after they contracted HIV. The longer between their diagnosis and treatment, the more time the disease has to progress unchecked.
- Lifestyle. Practicing an unhealthy lifestyle, such as having a poor diet and experiencing severe stress, can cause HIV to progress more quickly.
- Genetic history. Some people seem to progress more quickly through their disease given their genetic makeup.
Some factors can delay or slow the progression of HIV. These include:
Living a healthy lifestyle and seeing a healthcare provider regularly can make a big difference in a persons overall health.
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