Being diagnosed with HIV can be a big deal whatever your gender, sexuality or cultural background. You may experience a range of emotions which may change over the days and weeks ahead.
While being diagnosed with HIV is a challenge, it is not insurmountable. Be assured, people from all walks of life are living with HIV and enjoying full and active lives.
This website provides information you may find useful as you work through your HIV diagnosis. Before we get into the details, here are some things to consider:
- You are not alone! There are more than 27 000 people living with HIV in Australia, just over 2000 of whom are women. Most people with HIV are living full lives. There are established peer-support organisations and networks you can access if you think talking to other people living with HIV may be useful.
- HIV treatments have radically improved and now offer most people with HIV a long and healthy life. In Australia, it is uncommon for HIV to develop into AIDS, and it rarely results in a person’s death. Most people with HIV are healthy and getting on well in their lives – working, studying, in relationships, having children, looking after their families, and doing all kinds of things they enjoy.
- Over time, your way of dealing with your HIV diagnosis will change. It doesn’t matter if it’s similar or different from the way others cope. Take the time and space you need to think your situation through. If you are struggling, consider seeing a counsellor who is trained in this area.
- Becoming informed about HIV will help you make choices and gain a sense of control over the disease. There are well established HIV organisations offering up-to-date information, care and support.
- It is good to get support from friends or family as soon as you can but think carefully about who you want to tell and when you want to tell them. Close friends and family can be a great source of support although it is important to think through how they are likely to react and whether they will keep your information private.
- Now you have your diagnosis, you will be able to take greater control over your health. There are many things you can do to keep yourself healthy.