Where to Start After an HIV Positive Diagnosis

While most people recognize the importance of regular HIV testing, it’s likely that many never consider what to do when the worst occurs and an HIV positive diagnosis is given.

As with other potentially fatal diseases, when someone learns they are HIV positive, they can often experience shock, disbelief, grief, fear, anger, or a combination of all these emotions.

However difficult it may be, the days after your HIV positive diagnosis should not be stalled by inaction. You need to move forward and give yourself the best foundation for living with your disease.

Read on to learn what to do after you learn you are HIV positive.

Dealing With an HIV Positive Diagnosis

See an HIV/AIDS Specialist

The first step after discovering your condition through HIV testing is to consult with a doctor who has experience in treating HIV/AIDS. With your doctor’s guidance, you’ll know what lab tests you need to complete to evaluate your health. This lab testing might include panels to determine the strength of your immune system and gauge the progression of HIV.

Armed with this information, you and your doctor can discuss an appropriate, effective treatment plan. HIV positive people who undergo treatment can lead long, happy lives, as HIV drugs can slow or altogether stop the spread of the disease.

Build a Support SystemARCpoint Labs | Where to Start After an HIV Positive Diagnosis

In the years after your HIV positive diagnosis, you’ll need a lot of emotional support — and physical, too. Don’t try to go it alone. With the local or online HIV/AIDS groups, a mental health professional, or even an HIV positive hotline, you can receive the help you need. Your family members, close friends, and health care professionals can also serve as support while you cope with your HIV positive diagnosis and move forward with managing your disease.

Educate Yourself & Others

Before your HIV positive diagnosis, you may know very little about the disease. It’s time to educate yourself and others so that you can best manage your health — and prevent HIV infection in the ones you love.

Talk to your doctor or other trusted health professionals to learn about your HIV positive diagnosis and what it means for your life. Conduct research online — the HIV/AIDS Resource Center, AIDS.gov, and The Body are all great places to start. You can even reach out to other HIV positive individuals — in person or online — to learn more about the disease.

As you educate yourself, remember that you will also need to educate the people you choose to inform about your HIV positive status. This might include your family, friends, significant others, and more. Remember, since HIV is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, any sexual partners must be informed of your HIV positive status.

Stay on Top of Your Health

Before your HIV positive diagnosis, you may have only had blood drawn once in a blue moon. After, you’ll need to monitor your health much more closely to prevent the disease from progressing to AIDS.

Regular lab testing will provide insight into your immune system’s health, as well as how your kidneys and liver are functioning, whether your blood cell counts are normal, and if your cholesterol levels are of concern. A lab test will usually reveal signs of disease long before you are symptomatic. And if you notice any changes in your health yourself, you should be sure to talk to your health care provider.

Remember, You Can Survive With HIV

Huge strides in medical care have occurred since the AIDS outbreak of the early 1980s. Now, an HIV positive diagnosis doesn’t mean your disease will progress to AIDS, the final stage of infection. With proper treatment and health monitoring, being HIV positive can be a chronic, not fatal, condition.

Approach HIV Positive Life With ARCpoint Labs

At ARCpoint Labs nationwide, you can not only get reliable, confidential HIV testing — we also provide lab testing services to help you monitor your health after an HIV positive diagnosis.

To learn more about how ARCpoint Labs can help you handle an HIV positive diagnosis, find your nearest ARCpoint Labs today.

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