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Q&A to live positively fierce

Did you know approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. live with HIV?

Of those people, about 65.9% received HIV care and 56.8% were undetectable in 2019. 

This can be the case for many people living with HIV, but fear can get in the way of having long, fulfilling, healthy lives – why?

Stigma, discrimination and misinformation have turned HIV into a scary topic – but guess what? HIV doesn’t have to be scary – just because you were diagnosed with HIV doesn’t mean you have a death sentence. 

You can still live your life to the fullest, have safe sex, keep a healthy diet, and take care of your health – all while living positively fierce.

Remember: Knowledge is how you overcome your fears, so read our HIV-positive Q&A:

I’m HIV positive – what should I do now?

Being diagnosed with HIV can feel like the end of the world – but it’s not! 

Overcoming the fear of HIV starts with you. Read these tips:

Get support

Connect and engage with others in the HIV community:

If you need to talk to someone immediately, hotlines are also available. 

Know your life isn’t being cut short

Find a provider and ask about medications and treatments like antiretroviral therapy (ART) – which can help you gain an undetectable status.

Keep on lovin’

Find a potential partner or casual date on online sites, like:

Talk to your doctor if you want to start a family

Schedule an appointment with your doctor and talk to them about starting a family.

If you aren’t sure where to start, The Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania can guide you through the family planning process.

Read more about these tips to live a long and healthy life after testing positive for HIV.

Can I still have sex?

Yes – you can have sex if you are living with HIV by taking medication to keep sex as safe as possible.

Although HIV cannot be cured, it can be fully controlled by lowering your viral load or reaching an undetectable status or U=U

Want to know more? Simply follow these extra steps to stop the spread of HIV:

Use protection

If you’re hooking up, rubber up.

Condoms and dental dams stop the spread of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Consider PrEP for your partner

PrEP, short for pre-exposure prophylaxis, is an HIV prevention method for people who are not yet HIV positive but are at a higher risk of getting HIV. 

So, if you have a sweetheart and they are HIV-negative, encourage them to take PrEP. 

Keep in mind PrEP can only be prescribed, so remind them to talk to their doctor. But, if they don’t have one, fill out our link to care form to connect with a medical professional or access inclusive and confidential health care at a Community Health Center.

Get tested for STIs

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) spread from one person to another through any kind of sex – anal, vaginal or oral. 

The only way to stop the spread of STIs is to use condoms or dental dams.

HIV and STIs are not the same. People with an STI may be at an increased risk of getting HIV. No HIV treatment can protect you against STIs. 

Learn more about safe-sex practices if you or your partner are living with HIV.

Will I have to change the foods I eat?

Yes and no. 

Good nutrition is key to a healthier life – regardless of your status. 

If you’re living a positive life, having a well-balanced diet is important because HIV affects your body’s ability to process nutrients naturally found in food, leading to health problems like cardiovascular disease and reduced appetite. 

Additionally, the HIV infection, medications and treatment can also cause you to experience physical issues such as weight loss, opportunistic infections (tuberculosis, cervical cancer or pneumonia), mouth sores and diarrhea. 

So, what should my diet include? 

  • Vitamins and minerals 
  • Water 
  • Proteins
  • Calories

Need more information? Learn how to eat well if you have HIV

If I have HIV, do I also have AIDS? 

NO! 

Not everyone with HIV is diagnosed with AIDS, but everyone with AIDS does have an HIV diagnosis. 

Whereas human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks your immune system or your body’s defense against diseases that help you stay healthy, an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) diagnosis is when there are specific medical markers during the progression of HIV. 

Learn more about the differences between HIV and AIDS here

Ready to live positively fierce?

Don’t Let HIV stop you from living and thriving. You can start a family, a relationship, finish school or travel the world. HIV does not define you, it’s just a part of you. 

Overcome the fear of HIV today – connect with TakeControlHIV.com  for inclusive and confidential support that puts your needs first.