Newly-Diagnosed And Coping With An HIV-Positive Status
They are the words that no one wants to hear: “You’re HIV-positive.” There are a lot of emotions that come with learning that you are HIV-positive, like anger, depression, anxiety, and nervousness. But once the initial shock sets in, it’s important to understand that knowing your status is actually a good thing, because it means you can now receive the proper treatment.
- An HIV-positive status does not mean you have AIDS. HIV is a virus that attacks your immune system, while AIDS is a diagnosis that is caused as a result of HIV that has been left untreated and unmanaged. Many HIV-positive people today live their entire lives without ever developing AIDS.
- You can have normal relationships. Thanks to medications like PrEP (which prevent HIV-negative people from getting HIV), condoms, and other safer sex practices, it is possible to have and to further develop emotional and physical relationships with others.
- Many people with HIV live long, prosperous lives. In 1996, the average newly diagnosed 20-year-old was not expected to live past the age of 40. However, today a 20-year-old diagnosed with HIV is expected to live well into his or her 70s.
I Just Found Out I’m HIV-positive, Now What?
Take Care of Yourself
The first thing you should do after you learn your status is to visit a healthcare professional and begin HIV treatment. Though antiretroviral drugs cannot kill or treat the virus, they can prevent it from spreading throughout your body.
Joining a support group is incredibly important, as an HIV diagnosis is often very overwhelming. Talking to trained professionals, as well as people who can relate to your situation are the best ways to understanding and accepting your diagnosis.
Tell Others You Trust
Tell others about your HIV status who need to know or who you trust. It’s incredibly important to tell any of your past sexual partners that you are HIV-positive so that they can get tested as well. You should also tell anyone you plan on being intimate with in the future, so that you limit the chances of passing the virus onto them. Studies have also shown that sharing your HIV status with people you trust can help alleviate some of the stresses associated with having the disease. You do not, however, have to tell people like employers, co-workers, or community members.
Understand That It Does Get Easier
Finding out that you have HIV is a big shock; no one is denying that. But just because you are HIV-positive doesn’t mean you can’t still do the things you dreamed of before your diagnosis. For most people, HIV can be very well managed, so all your dreams about going to college, having a family, or moving to a new city are still very much achievable!
CIRCLE CARE Center provides comprehensive and state-of-the-art HIV/AIDS care and support. Patients have a choice of providers and a range of services that are available at our clinic, including 20-minute HIV and Hepatitis C testing, HIV education, Sexual Health Counseling, and so much more.