Facing Facts After Testing Positive for HIV
For some people, a negative HIV test result is a wake-up call and a chance to get things:
"I was totally relieved and happy. I got tested because my boyfriend and I had slipped up. Then I had to go back six months later for a second test to be sure. I'm not going through that stress again. I'll always use condoms now."
-- Nicole, Houston
For others, life goes on, but is changed forever:
"It was scary when the counselor at the clinic told me I was HIV positive, but she was really helpful and supportive. After I got over the shock, I started on treatment - 14 pills a day. I also figured out who to tell about my HIV and how. At first, I was afraid my family and friends would treat me differently because I had HIV and that my boyfriend wouldn't ever want me again. It wasn't easy, but the important thing for me is that I am LIVING with HIV."
-- Samiya, Boston
Whether your HIV test results are positive or negative, the important thing to remember is that you're not alone. You can get the help you need through support groups and individual counseling. Your testing and treatment site can refer you to a counselor if you need one.
Why it might be helpful to tell someone you're HIV-positive:
-- It may help you get support in dealing with your HIV diagnosis
- They're important to you and you tell them everything that happens in your life (a parent, brother, sister, partner, best friend or teacher)
- You think it may be a good idea for them to know your medical needs (a doctor or nurse at the emergency room, or someone who might help you in an accident)
- They're a former or current sexual partner, or someone you want to be with in the future
- Your HIV status is nothing to be ashamed of.
Why it might be hard to tell someone you're HIV-positive:
- You expect them to react in a negative or hostile way
- You don't trust them to keep the information confidential
- You feel you need time to think things through or tell other people first
Last Updated: 08 April 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD