Learning you’ve tested positive for HIV might feel like the end of the world, especially if you weren’t expecting it. It’s normal to feel mad, scared, sad, or even numb at first and you’ll likely experience a wave of these emotions as the reality of your diagnosis begins to set in.
NOAH’s HIV navigation team will contact you immediately if you have a positive HIV diagnosis. Our highly skilled team will help you process and understand your results, help you schedule an initial appointment with an HIV specialty clinic, and connect you with financial assistance if needed.
HIV treatment with prescription medication should begin as soon as possible. The goal of this medicine is to reduce the amount of HIV in your blood, often referred to as your “viral load”. The lower your viral load, the lower your chances are of transmitting the virus to others and/or contracting life-threatening infections or cancers.
Research has shown that patients with HIV can obtain an undetectable viral load in six months or less as long as they continue treatment as prescribed. It’s important to note, every patient is different, and results may vary.
HIV is Not a Death Sentence
Though there is no cure for HIV, taking your medicine can keep you undetectable. According to the CDC, in the early years of the epidemic, HIV positive individuals usually only had one or two years to live. Over the past 40 years, HIV treatment has come a long way and enabled patients to live long, healthy lives. The single most important thing you can do to prolong your life and the lives of others is to get tested.
Resources for Support
It’s a good idea to enlist a few support channels to help you cope with your diagnosis and live your best life with HIV. NOAH offers in-person and virtual individual counseling services and your HIV care provider will likely have referrals or recommendations. There are also hundreds of online resources; try Stop HIV Together and Positive Spin; both backed by the CDC, or Maricopa County’s Positively You.