You might feel upset, shocked, overwhelmed, worried or angry after being diagnosed with HIV. Whatever your situation, it’s important not to panic.
Key things to know
It might be hard to take in information right now, so here are the key things it’s useful to know straight away:
- An HIV diagnosis doesn’t mean that you’re going to die. HIV can be managed with treatment and you can live a long and healthy life.
- Starting and staying on treatment can help you achieve an undetectable viral load, which means that you can have sex without worrying about passing on HIV to your partners.
- When you’re ready and want to know more, we have information on what HIV is, HIV treatment and living with HIV.
We’re here to support you if you want to talk about your diagnosis, what it means, how you’re feeling or what to do next.
I’ve just been told I have HIV, what now?
Finding out you have HIV can have a big impact on your life. On this page we provide advice on what to expect and think about in the first days and weeks after you’re diagnosed.
Take time off to take it all in
Everyone reacts differently to their diagnosis. Many people are shocked at first. Some people blame themselves while others feel angry or sad, or want to know, why me? These are difficult but natural feelings, and it is okay to give yourself time to process it all.
Reach out for emotional support
Getting an HIV diagnosis can be scary. Talking to someone who doesn’t know you can help you manage your emotions and feel less alone. You can get in touch with us and we will work with you to help you understand what’s going on. We can also match you with one of our peer mentors who have been through it themselves to help you cope with your diagnosis.
Learn more about your treatment options
Once you’ve had some time to process your feelings, you’ll probably have a lot of questions about your treatment. Ask your specialist HIV doctor or a nurse to explain your treatment options and what to expect when attending follow-up appointments. We can also help you to understand and access treatment. Get in touch with us for advice and support or read more about HIV treatment.
Sharing your status with other people
Whether it’s a partner, friends and family, or people you work with, sharing your HIV status can be daunting. Being open with the people you trust can help you feel more at ease, but you don’t have to tell anyone if you don’t want to. If you’re anxious about telling someone, get in touch with us and we can help you plan what to say.
Creating a routine
Having a set routine every day can give a sense of order and calm. It can also help you to remember when to take your medication so you don’t miss any pills. You may not be ready for these things yet, but carrying on doing something you enjoy and staying active can help lift your mood.
Get in touch and we can talk to you about how to look after yourself, whether that’s dealing with how you’re feeling, trouble sleeping or worries about family or work.
Begin to create a new ‘normal’ that is filled with promise and longevity. Adhere to your medication regimen and create a routine that brings balance to your body, mind and spirit.
Looking for support?
If you are living with HIV and need support understanding a new diagnosis, treatment or navigating life with HIV, we are here to help. Get in touch with us by filling out our contact form.