What to Do After Being Diagnosed As HIV-Positive
Seek HIV-Positive Support Services
A wide range of people can help provide you with the emotional and physical support you may need to cope with your diagnosis of HIV. Seek the help you need -- whether it's getting a ride to doctor visits or simply finding a sympathetic ear. Here are some steps you can take right away:
- Ask your doctor about local HIV/AIDS support groups. Or, ask for a referral to a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or clinical social worker.
- Find message boards or chat rooms online. Discuss with your doctor the information you get from these sources. Some are accurate; some are not.
- Find a hotline by looking in the yellow pages of your telephone book under "AIDS, HIV Educational Referral and Support Services" or "Social Service Organizations." A person at the hotline can provide you with practical advice or emotional support over the phone. They can also refer you to local HIV/AIDS self-help organizations.
Protect Others From Becoming HIV-Positive
Because you're HIV-positive, you can give the virus to others, even if you don't feel sick. This can happen through unprotected sex or by sharing needles. You can protect others by using condoms and clean needles. By doing this, you can also protect yourself from other strains of HIV. Also, don't donate blood.
If you are a woman, you can spread HIV to your baby during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. Ask your doctor what you can do to protect your child. Proper treatment has nearly wiped out the spread of infection to newborns in the U.S.