BEEN DIAGNOSED HIV+. NOW WHAT ???
a deep breath.
that everyone who is HIV+ does not progress to AIDS.
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. Chances are you do not have AIDS.
There are now more than 30 medications that can keep HIV from
replicating in your body and more than 30 years of medical and
social experience with HIV and AIDS.
doubt you now have questions about HIV. Write them down and take tem
with you when you visit your doctor. Your medical support people
will be glad you did. Other
questions will arise too.. Where do I find a
good doctor? How is my insurance coverage? 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. Understand what HIV and AIDS
are. Find support wherever you can. Ask you doctor if he has a lot
of HIV patients. If not, find one that does. 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
To view answers, click on the "+"
What is HIV?
HIV stands for
Human Immunodeficiency Virus
HIV is the VIRUS that
attacks the IMMUNE system of HUMANS. It is the virus that causes AIDS.
H – Human – This virus
is only found in humans. It causes immunodeficiency.
I – Immunodeficiency –
HIV weakens you immune system. Your immune system is your body’s system of fighting infections.
V – Virus – An
infectious agent reproduces itself by taking over cells. This virus can be controlled with medications.
How HIV works.
HIV enters T-cells which are a key part of your immune system. Once inside a
T-cell, HIV reproduces itself, kills the T-cell and sends out more HIV which
attack more T-cells. Over time, your T-cell count is diminished and you are
unable to fight off infections. When this happens, someone infected with HIV
has progressed to AIDS.
What is AIDS?
AIDS stand for
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
AIDS is a collection
of symptoms that indicate a deficiency in your immune system. It is acquired,
A – Acquired – AIDS is acquired, it is not something you are born
I – Immuno – means your body’s immune system.
D – Deficiency – means your
immune system it is not working as it should.
S – Syndrome
– A syndrome is a collection
of symptoms of disease. AIDS is not a disease, it is a group of symptoms.
What can I do?
a doctor who has a number of HIV/AIDS patients. If you need help finding a
doctor, you can join the POZabilities Yahoo Group. POZabilities
Yahoo group. 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. You’ll find
some help with that here.
If you don’t have health
insurance or enough health insurance you may qualify for help. you can find
information about eligibility, coverage and application on the Owen
follow-up appointments even if you do not feel ill. Thanks to lab tests,
modern medications, and a caring medical team, someone who is diagnosed as HIV+
today and seeks treatment can have a nearly normal life expectancy. You may not
have to take medications right away but monitoring your health is a good idea.
Support - Getting
in touch with other HIV+ people can be helpful. Support groups can help you
negotiate the emotional and physical issues you are going to face. Visit
HIV/AIDS agencies to find out what support available for you.
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
prepared to answer questions by being knowledgeable about HIV and the state of
your health, be prepared for rejection. It can hurt. Remember that rejection
about them, it is not about you. They are having trouble dealing with the
situation. Talking to a friend about the situation may help you find a solution.
You can’t control how others feel, but you can look for a way to handle it.
What can I do to stay healthy?
Doing what you can to stay health may be more important for
you now as it was before your diagnosis. Find out about HIV. Seek support
services. Look into San Diego’s local support
groups. Finding a sympathetic ear
can be helpful; talk to others who are HIV+.
Get enough exercise.
Exercise it 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.
You can also
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. You’ll find some sensible advice from Web-MD.
a more depth see The
Body.com's FAQ's About HIV and Nutrition, Exercise and Supplements.
Seek a profession
mental health counselor if necessary. If you find that your diagnosis is
overwhelming, seek help from a mental health professional. Counseling services
are free for people with HIV at The Center. For more information or to schedule
an appointment, call 619.692.2077 x208.
Many people with HIV use complementary and alternative medicine along with
Western medical treatments, in order to get the benefits of both.
Traditional medicine is the term applied to ancient
forms of complimentary and alternative medicine.
Some of these approaches are valuable and some are questionable. It pays
to do some research before using alternative, complimentary, or traditional
medications. You’ll find a list of fact sheets on alternative and complementary
therapies, Ayurvedic medicine, acupuncture, Native American healing and more at
In California, state law requires that care providers or
clinics forward all HIV positive patient tests to a local health officer, who
then reports the case to the California Department of Public Health. These records
can never be released If you willfully disclose a patient’s confidential HIV
testing information to a third party, you can be charged with a misdemeanor.
You can be convicted of a felony 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.