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What's Next?

Beyond the Test

September/October 2009

Sue Saltmarsh Okay, so after days, weeks, or months of worrying that you might have been infected with HIV, you've taken your 3-month test and are sitting in a room with a counselor who looks at you with basset-hound eyes and tells you the bad news. Besides going into deer-caught-in-the-headlights shock, what do you do next?

First, cry, yell, curl up into a ball -- whatever you do, be in your Truth with it. Denial won't do you any good and you might as well begin this journey accepting, even embracing, the intensity of the emotions you're feeling.

Next, decide whether you're going to tell your family, friends, sexual partner(s), boss, etc. Of course, it's up to you to decide who to share this information with, but one thing to think about is that the only way stigma and discrimination can survive is by being perpetuated by the shame and secrecy of those it targets. It may seem inconceivably hard, but if you don't act ashamed, it will be harder for others to make you feel that way.

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Visit Positively Aware's website to find out more about the publication.
 
See Also
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

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Marie Whitaker (New Jersey) Sun., Nov. 15, 2009 at 12:15 pm EST
This was a very encouraging article on how to live life inspite of a diagnosis of Hiv. I was diagnosed with hiv/aids Nov. 2007. I have truly come along way from the begining of my diagnosis. I won't say that I was in denial about it at all. If anything I was truly afraid and uneducated. I had thought that my life was truly over. until my Dr and a co worker that I confided in told me that living with hiv/aids was no longer a death sentence and that I can still live my life to the fullest. I can't say that my thinking towards this disease changed right away. to me just the thought of having this disease made me feel that the dreams that I had for my life was gone. The question that I had in my head was Who will want me now that I have hiv? let alone AIDS?!!!!..NO ONE that I know. That is definitely a messed up feeling to have. Well with all the things that I have to say I can probaly write a book. with all that said and done I am just happy to be alive & well. I have also decided not to spend the rest of my life beating myself up because I have hiv/aids! It's really not worth it. honestly there are far more diseases that are worse off then hiv/aids. I'm not happy at all about being hiv positive. I have no choice but to make the best of having it by taking care of my total health and living my life. not only for myself but for my children and the rest of my immediate family who luvs me for me and not for what I've been diagnosed with. My family and a few friends are my biggest support group. Thank God that I was blessed with such loving and caring individuals in my life. to end this I just want to say live your life, love yourself and smile because you have a reason to. the reason is that you are still in the land of the living and you are not going anywhere until God says so!!! Be blessed e1 always!!!
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Comment by: ndungu (Kenya) Fri., Nov. 13, 2009 at 12:43 am EST
Great article. I think contracting HIV is a life changing event and not a life ending event. We have to focus and redirect our lives in a different way but eventually we will make it. One should focus on the future and should not blame himself/herself after contracting this life threatening virus. The only thing constant in life is change and hence the need for people living with HIV/AIDS to remain positive minded in life. Live each day at a time and take hold of every precious moment we've been given by God. I believe it ain't over till it's over.
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