for Veterans and the Public

You just tested positive--now what?

First, understand the type of HIV test you received. With rapid HIV tests, a positive result must be confirmed by a second test, because falsely positive results sometimes happen.

If you are confirmed to have HIV, don't panic. HIV medications are very effective and can keep you healthy. The most important things you can do right now are:

  • See a health care provider. VA is the nation's largest provider of HIV care and we have the latest treatments for HIV available.
  • Start treatment for HIV (antiretroviral therapy), unless there is a strong reason not to do so. Taking HIV medications every day as prescribed is likely to keep you healthy for many, many years. And it will minimize your risk of infecting other people with HIV.
  • Learn more about HIV and about how to take care of yourself.
  • Make sure to keep up with your medical appointments.
  • Stay in close contact with your health care provider. Explain how you feel and what you're going through.
  • Follow your provider's instructions about lifestyle, diet and nutrition, and treatment.
  • Ask for help or support.
  • Read the section called Just Diagnosed.