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After You've Tested Positive

Part of Project Inform's "Attaining HIV Health and Wellness" Booklet Series

January 2013

After You've Tested Positive: Booklet One of Three in Project Inform's 'Attaining HIV Health and Wellness' Series
Table of Contents


Using This Booklet

Using This Booklet

The main focus of this booklet is to let you know that you can live well with HIV and how to do so. It may take some time for that message to sink in, because adjusting to this new life may be an emotional road on top of it being a physical one. But the information in this booklet has been written to answer questions that many people have after testing positive. You're not alone, and with resources and effort you can live a long and healthful life with HIV.

In these pages, you'll find topics that will help you understand more about your diagnosis. We highlight three key areas: knowledge (what's useful to know), health (what can be helpful to do), and self-advocacy (how to get what you need). Getting informed about HIV, being actively involved in your health, and talking things out with your clinician and support network can result in a longer, healthier life.

You don't have to figure all of this out at once. Read this booklet at your own pace and revisit it from time to time as you feel ready for more. We offer this information to help support the relationship with your health provider(s).


How Is Today Different From Earlier in the Epidemic?

Living with HIV today is very different from what it was like in the 80s or 90s. You may have some real fears about starting medicines or the prospect of living with HIV. These fears are normal but some of them may be influenced by outdated information or by stories of what it was like living with HIV in the early years.

Early in the epidemic, many people got sick well before they even knew they had HIV. They often went to emergency rooms to be treated for illnesses like pneumonia. This doesn't happen at the same rate as before.

HIV is now sometimes considered a chronic disease, like diabetes or heart disease. This means it's something to be aware of and treat each day of your life, once you start meds.

HIV is certainly not a walk in the park, but much more is known about how to treat it. Medicines have dramatically improved and extended the lives of people living with HIV, and today's drugs are generally safer, better tolerated and easier to take. Plus, there are other steps you can take to prolong your life and maintain your health.

Main Points to Remember

  • Today, people can live long and well with HIV. There are many support services available to help you do so.
  • You probably have time to deal with the news and probably don't have to do everything at once.

Helpful Resource

Just Diagnosed Resource Center


What Is Important to Think About First?

What Should You Do Now?

You've already done a lot by learning your status and beginning to adjust to living with HIV. Your diagnosis can be a wake-up call to be more proactive about your health, develop a healthier lifestyle, and take advantage of treatment.

You may have some time to consider the many aspects to this new development in your life. These include lining up different types of support, finding a doctor experienced in treating HIV, making decisions about treatment, and getting linked into local resources to help you make the most of your well-being. Finding others who live with HIV, as well as case managers or social workers, can go a long way to support you in living well.

Main Points to Remember

  • Take some time to get adjusted to the news if you can. Even if you start treatment right away, take some time to find an experienced doctor you like as well as a support system.
  • Many people seek help during this time, such as talking to a case manager or finding support groups or others with HIV.


Related Stories

Knowledge: Getting Informed About HIV
Health: Getting Involved in Your Well-Being
Self-Advocacy: Learning to Support Yourself
Day One With HIV: Finding Out Your Status, in Your Own Words
TheBody.com's HIV/AIDS Resource Center for the Newly Diagnosed
More "Just Diagnosed" Info


This article was provided by Project Inform. Visit Project Inform's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 

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