HIV Positive – What Now?

Hearing that you’re HIV positive is more than a medical diagnosis; it’s the beginning of a deeply personal journey. But remember, you’re not walking this path alone. Our article offers key HIV positive support to empower yourself and find peace in this new chapter of your life.

Your Mental Health Matters

  • Just Breathe: Right now, take a deep, slow breath. This simple act is your first step toward accepting your new normal. You’re going to be okay. Emotions will come in waves; ride them, knowing each small step forward is a victory.
  • Open Up to Someone: Sharing your journey can dramatically lift the weight off your shoulders. Find someone who listens with kindness and without judgment. Although it might feel like revealing a secret all over again, this time, you’re seeking understanding and support at a different level.
  • Connect with Peers: The strength found in shared experiences is powerful. Support groups and communities, like Positively Alive, offer comfort and HIV positive support from those who truly understand. Online forums and social media groups are also great spaces for solidarity and support.
  • Consider Therapy/Counselling: Sometimes, we need a guiding hand to help us through the storm. A therapist or counsellor can be that beacon of light, helping you navigate your feelings and fears.
  • Rest Well: Good sleep is foundational. If anxiety keeps you up, remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day filled with new possibilities.
  • Find Peace in Meditation: Meditation can be a sanctuary of calm during the chaos, helping you to see through the storm with clarity and tranquility.
  • Silence the Inner Critic: Treat yourself with the same kindness you would offer a friend.
  • Celebrate Your Sexuality: Your sexual well-being remains an important part of who you are. Learning and practicing safe sex and keeping your HIV under control with treatment ensure you can continue to enjoy an intimate and fulfilling romantic and sexual life.
  • Embrace Movement: Whether it’s a dance in your living room or a walk in the park, movement can lift your spirits and strengthen your body.

Navigating the Medical World

  • Start Treatment: Getting on antiretroviral therapy (ART) as soon as possible is vital. These medications are key to maintaining your health and well-being. Remember, ART is not a cure but keeps the HIV suppressed so that it cannot damage your health.
  • Keep Up with Your Meds: Stopping your ART medication will result in the HIV affecting your health. Establishing a consistent routine of taking your medication every day ensures your treatment works effectively. Apps and alarms can be helpful reminders.
  • Find Your Medical Ally: A healthcare provider who listens and supports you is priceless. Don’t settle until you find a practitioner you’re comfortable with.
  • Stay on Top of Checkups: Regular visits to your healthcare provider are crucial. They’re your partner in this journey to wellness.
  • Knowledge is Your Friend: Understanding HIV empowers you. It helps you make informed decisions about your health and your life. This includes being informed about what being HIV positive means and knowing terms like HIV stigma, U=U, undetectable, viral load, CD4, virally suppressed, ART, and ARVs.
  • Questions Are Welcome: There’s no such thing as a silly question. Your care team is there to clarify, support, and guide you.

Practical Steps for Everyday Life

  • Routines Help: Weave your medication schedule into daily life so it becomes second nature. Apps like “MyTherapy” or “Medisafe” are great for keeping track.
  • Nourish Your Body: A balanced diet and plenty of water nourish your body and support your immune system.

Beyond the Basics

  • Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and what you’re grateful for can be a powerful tool for emotional health.
  • Understanding Your Rights: Knowing your rights, especially at work, gives you confidence in managing your diagnosis publicly, if and when you choose to.
  • Embracing Hobbies: Returning to hobbies or discovering new ones can bring joy and a sense of normalcy.
  • Communicate With Your Healthcare Provider: Preparing for appointments and keeping a health diary can make your healthcare more effective.
  • Stay Informed: Trusted sources like the CDC or AIDS.gov keep you up-to-date with reliable information.

This journey you’re embarking on is deeply personal but also filled with hope and opportunities for growth. You have a community ready to support you, healthcare professionals dedicated to your well-being, and a wealth of HIV positive support resources to empower you. Let’s celebrate each step forward, no matter how small, as we walk this path together. Remember, the new positive you is still you—full of life, deserving of love, and capable of incredible things.

At EMH, our services cater to men who have sex with men, irrespective of identity or HIV status. No judgment, no shame, and it’s FREE! EMH services include:

 

• HIV testing and ARV treatment
• Testing and treatment for other STIs
• PrEP
• PEP
• HIV self-testing kits
For more information or to book an appointment, WhatsApp 082 607 1686.