If you have been diagnosed with HIV, seeking health care early and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help a person stay healthy. See a doctor, even if you feel well. If possible, see a doctor or health care provider who is familiar with treating people with HIV. Health care providers can inform you on what tests and drug treatments are right for you. There are many new drugs available that can help to slow down the damage that HIV does to the immune system. They can also advise you on other issues, like vaccines, as well as things to avoid, in order to stay healthy.
When taken the right way, ART greatly reduces the amount of HIV in the blood (the viral load). In some individuals taking these drugs the HIV viral load becomes undetectable, and when this happens there is little if any risk they will transmit HIV to a partner (perhaps no risk at all). It isn’t known if someone with an undetectable HIV viral load is able to transmit the virus through sharing needles and injecting equipment, though.
- “I want to talk with you about something that’s important to me.”
- “I really feel I can trust you and I want to tell you something very personal. Last year, I found out I have HIV. Can I tell you about it?”
- “I really like you and enjoy being with you, and I want to get closer to you. Let’s talk about safer sex.”
For many people telling their partner that they have HIV is a sensitive issue and knowing when to raise it is important. It’s best to let the friendship develop first, but it’s not best to wait until you’ve become sexually intimate. If you wait this long people may feel angry or have mistrust. Disclosing your status can create a more honest and open relationship, either as friends or intimate partners. Not everyone will feel comfortable immediately after conversations such as these, that’s why patience and understanding are key. Remember, telling a partner about your HIV status is a small part of relationship building.