|Don’t let HIV become overwhelming.
If you have a positive HIV test result, a follow-up test will be conducted. If the follow-up test is also positive, it means you are HIV-positive. If your follow-up test result confirms you are infected with HIV, the next thing is to take steps to protect your health and prevent transmission to others.
Being diagnosed as HIV+ can be overwhelming. Remember that having HIV is no longer the death sentence it once was. With good medical care you can live a long, healthy and productive life.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Got questions? Write them down.
And take them with you when you visit your doctor, your therapist, or an HIV AIDS organization. The people you talk to will be glad you did. Ask yourself – Where do I find a good doctor? Do I have adequate health insurance? Where can I find support? What changes do I have to make? Who do I tell? It can be helpful if you write these down too and seek answers. You may feel that your life has changed. Find support wherever you can Make an appointment with San Diego’s HIV/AIDS agencies. They are there to help. Seek out others with HIV, they have experience that might be helpful.
Find a doctor who has a number of HIV/AIDS patients.
If you need help finding a doctor, you can join POZabilities Google Group (send an email to email@example.com and ask to join) This is a closed group for HIV+ individuals. You can post a message here and ask for doctor recommendations from other HIV+ people.
Once you have found a doctor take a written list of questions. Your appointment will go faster and you won’t have to say, “OH, I almost forgot….” Be sure to ask how often you should return for follow-up. You may have to visit more than one doctor to find someone you are comfortable with. If you don’t have health insurance or enough health insurance you may qualify for help. ADAP may cover your medications, You can find help about health insurance and paying for medications under REFERENCES on POZabilities Resource page.
Look into San Diego’s local support groups. Finding a sympathetic ear can be helpful; talk to others who are HIV+. Support groups can help you negotiate the emotional and physical issues you are going to face. Visit San Diego’s HIV/AIDS Agencies. Look into San Diego’s local support groups. POZabilities offers social activities for people with HIV and Building On A Positive Life, a support group for HIV+ men. Find support at Facebook’s POZ Place and Trans Positive. You can find information about HIV online POZ.com and The Body.com
U=U UNDETECTABLE = UNTRANSMITTABLE
When taken as prescribed, HIV medications can decrease the amount of HIV present in a person’s blood, or “HIV viral load”, to be too low to measure. This is called being undetectable. Being undetectable prevents HIV disease from progressing and allows people to live long and healthy lives. It also protects the health of their sex partners.
SHOULD I COME OUT AS HIV+?
You may find that who to tell and who not to tell is a difficult decision. You can ease the burden of disclosure by considering who you want to tell and what reactions you can expect from them. Who will give you the support you need? Who will find it hard to deal with your status? Who may discriminate against you? Not everyone needs to know but your doctor and your sex partners certainly do. Tell others as you are ready.
WHAT CAN I DO TO STAY HEALTHY?
Get enough exercise.
Exercise may help you feel better and reduce some of the side effects of HIV. Exercise can improve muscle mass, strength and endurance, Improve your energy, increase bone strength, decrease LDL, cholesterol and triglycerides while Increasing good HDL cholesterol, and Improve your appetite.
If exercise is not a part of your life and you cannot afford a gym membership, start by walking. Try one or more of these:
You’ll feel better and your body will thank you.
Eat nutritious food.
Food is your bodies fuel, but we don’t always eat as well as we should. If you have access to a registered dietician, make an appointment for a nutrition check-up. Registered dietitians have years of education and training in the science of food and nutrition. Keep in mind that anyone can call themselves a nutritionist. And anyone can own a nutrition website. Ask for credentials and beware of someone with a sales pitch. Find out more about food resources for HIV positives in San Diego. You’ll find some sensible advice from Web-MD. For a more depth see The Body.com’s FAQ’s About HIV and Nutrition, Exercise and Supplements.
Complimentary, Traditional and Alternative Treatment
Many people with HIV use Complementary and Traditional medicine to relieve symptoms of the virus, side effects from treatment, or to help improve their mood.
Some of these approaches are valuable and some are questionable. Don’t buy into treatments that claim to be miracle potions that cure HIV/AIDS. It pays to do some research before using complimentary or traditional therapies. The Well Project has an informative article on complimentary therapies.
California HIV Laws
You can be convicted of a misdemeanor if you are HIV+, are aware of your status, have unprotected sex, do not disclose your status to your partner, and act with the intent to infect your partner. find out more at Pride Legal.