What happens if I am HIV positive?

If your test results are positive with a rapid test then you need a lab test to confirm the result.

If your positive result came from a lab test, then the confirmatory test will already have been done.

If you are HIV positive then your test centre will arrange for you to speak with a doctor. It is important that you then have a few other tests to see how strong your immune system is.

You should also be offered HIV treatment (called ART), Many people now start ART as soon as they find out they are HIV positive.

You will need time to come to terms with this news.

With support and information this will become easier. Good information will help you to make informed decisions about your health.

Learning you are HIV positive is never great news. But HIV is now largely a treatable and manageable infection.

HIV treatment can give you a normal life expectancy with a great quality of life.

Even before the new treatments, HIV positive people wanted to continue to live life to the full. There are very few things that you can’t do now because of this virus.

For further information or support then please contact i-Base via our website ( or our treatment information phoneline.

What if I am diagnosed in pregnancy?

HIV testing is routinely offered to every woman as part of prenatal care.

The almost universal use of HIV testing has reduced the number of babies born with HIV in the UK.

This is because diagnosing HIV during pregnancy allows the mother to receive treatment that also protects the baby. If your HIV is managed correctly, the UK has one of the lowest rates of transmission to the baby (less than 1%).

If you are diagnosed during pregnancy you should get special care and counselling.

For more information, see the testing section of the i-Base guide “HIV, Pregnancy and Women’s Health”.

Last updated: 1 June 2021.