for Veterans and the Public
Your next steps
Finding out that you have HIV can be scary and overwhelming. If you feel overwhelmed, try to remember that you can get help and that these feelings will get better with time.
Testing positive for HIV is a serious matter but one that you can deal with. Starting HIV medications early is one of the best ways to take care of your health. This guide will take you through the steps you need to take to protect your health:
- Understand your diagnosis
- Find support
- Work with your doctor
- Monitor your health
- Be aware of possible complications
- Protect others
- Start treatment
- Move forward with your life
There are some things that you should know about HIV that may ease some of the stress or confusion you are feeling.
- You are not alone. Many people are living with HIV, even if you don't know that they are.
- HIV does not equal death: Having HIV does not mean that you are going to die of it. Most people with HIV live long and healthy lives if they get medical treatment and take care of themselves.
- A diagnosis of HIV does not automatically mean that you have AIDS.
- Don't freeze: Learning how to live with HIV and getting into care and onto medications will help you to feel better and get on with your life. Your VA care provider can help you connect with a health care team that knows how to manage HIV.