If you have just been diagnosed this can be a difficult time.
Hey, slow down. Take time. It is going to be ok.
An HIV diagnosis may be unexpected. Or may have been something you were worrying about for a long time.
Even though it may not feel like it, your health will be better now you know your HIV status. This is because you can now get the right monitoring and treatment. If you had not found out, your health would have just got worse.
Finding out you are HIV positive changes how you feel about your life. It is likely to change your relationships with other people. You have the time to work this all out.
It will probably take a while for the news to sink in. Some aspects of being HIV positive take time to come to terms with.
Things will get easier…
Even if you feel worried, frightened, upset or angry now, it will get easier. You will still be able do all the things you wanted to do before you learned that you were HIV positive.
HIV for most people can be easily managed and treated. This doesn’t mean that life will always be easy or that HIV should been taken lightly. It does mean that if you are careful, you can live a long and healthy life.
Treatment (called ART) is highly effective and generally easy to take. ART is now routinely recommended for anyone who is HIV positive. Effective ART also makes it difficult to pass HIV to other people.
Although finding out you are HIV positive is a shock, it will get easier. Modern ART means that you can still do everything you planned before you found out you were positive. You can also have as long and as healthy a life as if you were HIV negative.
However you became positive – and many people never know this – it is better to move forwards than to look back. Decide what is right for you and your life now. Getting information about your choices will usually help.
Connect to others…
It is difficult to cope with HIV on your own. If you don’t know anyone else who is positive, find out about HIV support groups. Your clinic should know about these. Even if you only go a few times, the chance to talk to other people who have been through a similar experience will help.
You can also connect online or with a telephone helpline. HIV organistions often have newsletters or other publications that can help you keep up to date about treatment. Learning about your care can also make you feel more in control.