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Four tips for managing mental health after finding out you’re HIV positive

Confusion, anger, depression, and shock are normal emotions to experience following a positive HIV diagnosis. Your world may feel uprooted as this new diagnosis is a completely life-changing experience.

Embrace your feelings, let out your frustration, and stay strong!  With support and treatment, you can live a long, healthy life.

HIV doesn’t define who you are.

Educate yourself on the facts.

There are many misconceptions surrounding HIV that can influence how you feel about your diagnosis. For example, if you fear your health will decline or you will die earlier, depression is likely to set in. Please know, HIV can be treated and with the right medications, you can live a fulfilling life.

Educating yourself on the facts and knowing treatment is available will empower you to find and stay in care.

Remember, the more you know about HIV, the more in control you can be of your health.

Build your support group.

Telling someone you’re living with HIV is difficult, but it is an important step to building your support system.

Talking with someone you trust relieves the loneliness of a positive HIV diagnosis. Ultimately, your doctor will work with you to create an HIV treatment plan, but family, friends, and your partner can make navigating the process easier. In the long run, your loved ones can encourage you to stick to an HIV care plan. 

It’s okay if you’re not ready to share your status with the people closest to you. You can connect with other people who are also living with HIV who may better understand your experience.

Whether you choose face-to-face or online HIV support groups, finding community is

 an empowering step. Knowing others have been in your shoes yet are now living comfortable and confident lives can break the pattern of catastrophic thinking. Connect with Take Control HIV and let us help you find the support you need.

Start HIV treatment.  

Don’t put off seeking treatment. The earlier you get into care, the better.

Through the Take Control HIV community, you can schedule an appointment with a doctor who has experience with HIV care to discuss your treatment options. Within 72 hours, you will be connected to care.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has helped people living with HIV live longer, healthier lives. ART also reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others. Your medical provider will help create the best treatment regimen for you. By continuing your treatment plan, you can eventually achieve an undetectable status, meaning you cannot transmit the virus.

If you’re stressed about paying for HIV treatment and medications, financial resources are available to help offset the cost.

Ask for extra help.  

People living with HIV are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety due to HIV-related stigma, stress, and changes in relationships.

Maintaining a balanced diet and exercising can help relieve stress. Therapy is also a valuable tool for coping with negative emotions you may be feeling.  Living with HIV is challenging, but you’re not alone. If you feel your diagnosis is taking a negative toll on your life, contact your provider immediately. 

Connecting to care is easy. Fill out this form and access the services you need.

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