- After an HIV test
- I tested negative. Now what?
If you tested negative, keep in mind that a negative test result may not always be accurate. HIV infection has a window period, so if you were exposed less than 3 months before your most recent test, make an appointment to get retested 3 months out from your potential original exposure. Also, remember that you can prevent HIV by practicing abstinence or mutual monogamy with a trusted partner, using condoms every time you have sex (and for every sex act—anal, oral, or vaginal) or not sharing needles and other drugs works (commonly referred to as paraphenial). If you use drugs and alcohol, seek help.
- I tested positive. What should I do now?
Studies have shown that EIA (blood) and Rapid HIV tests are highly accurate when they show an HIV-positive result. Still, anyone who has a positive EIA (blood) or Rapid HIV test needs to have another test to confirm his or her diagnosis.
If you test positive, the first thing you need to do is breathe. Even though there is no cure for HIV, it can be managed. That means that with proper treatment, you can live a productive life. However, you have to take responsibility for managing your health and protecting your partners.
Before your doctor"s visit, you should:
Write down all of your questions so you can get answers at your first appointment. No question is too small, and there is no such thing as a stupid question. Share what"s on your mind with your health care provider.
If you feel comfortable in doing so, take along a trusted friend or relative to your first doctor"s visit. He or she may hear things that you might miss due to the stress of the newness of the situation.
Understand your diagnosis. Do some research on your own and find out what it means to be HIV-positive.
Find a support system. You need to have people you can talk to about your diagnosis, whether they are family members or friends. If you aren"t ready to tell family and friends about your diagnosis, reach out to counselors or support groups for people with HIV in your community. Find someone who you trust that you can talk with about your diagnosis.
Find a healthcare provider. It"s important for people with HIV to find a physician or health care provider with whom they feel comfortable. Your health care provider is your partner in care, and he or she will be responsible for monitoring your laboratory results, working with you to develop a proper treatment plan, advising you on health-related matters, and caring for your general health and well-being.
JOIN US at the 22nd Annual Mississippi HeARTS Benefit Saturday, February 8, 2014 at Hal & Mal's in Downtown Jackson, MS.
After An HIV Test
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