What you need to know after testing HIV positive

What you need to know after testing HIV positive

Every day is HIV awareness day. This week’s episode focuses on medication and questions you need to ask your health care practitioner during consultation.

Man with a red ribbon for the fight against AIDS stock photo
iStock - closeup of a red awareness ribbon for the fight against AIDS in the hand of a young caucasian man in a busy pedestrian street of a city

According to avert.org, South Africa has the biggest HIV epidemic in the world, with 7.7-million people living with HIV. Even though millions of people suffer from the virus, there are still misconceptions about it. Our guest talks about treatment and the questions you should be asking your health care provider during your consultation.

For more information on testing, please visit http://www.kznhealth.gov.za/testing.htm.

“Hi, it’s me again.

I hope you found our last chat useful and helpful in making the right decision about your health and the future. I’m sure you’re wondering how soon after testing you can start with your treatment. Well, the answer is: immediately!

People living with HIV should start taking HIV medicines as soon as possible after their HIV is diagnosed. However, before starting treatment, people with HIV must be prepared to take HIV medicines every day for the rest of their lives.

Issues such as an inability to pay for HIV medicines can make it hard to take HIV medicines consistently. But you don’t have to worry as government has taken care of this for you.

The nurse or doctor can recommend professionals to help you deal with any issues before you start taking HIV medicines. This may include personal problems, alcohol or drug problems or any other issue that may affect your treatment journey. Please share with your nurse or doctor so that they can help.

Also, make sure you ask questions. Some questions that you may want to ask are:

•          Because I have HIV, will I eventually get AIDS?

•          What can I do to stay healthy and avoid getting other infections?

•          How can I prevent passing HIV to others?

•          How should I tell my partner that I have HIV?

•          Is there any reason to tell my employer and those I work with that I have HIV?

•          Are there support groups for people with HIV?

The team of professionals are there for you, so share with them and allow them to help you!

Remember: Starting and staying on HIV treatment can lead to a normal and healthy life.”

This health feature is brought to you by the KZN Health Department.

For more information on HIV/Aids and the KZN Health Department, visit http://www.kznhealth.gov.za/hivandaids.htm.

Main image courtesy of iStock

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