Newly Diagnosed with HIV
- If you receive an HIV diagnosis, it means that you have HIV.
- Unlike some other viruses, the human body can’t get rid of HIV completely. Once you have HIV, you have it for life.
- But with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. People with HIV who get effective HIV treatment can live long, healthy lives and protect their partners.
Take Time to Process the News
- Receiving an HIV diagnosis can be life changing. You may feel many emotions—sadness, hopelessness, or anger.
- Allied health care providers and social service providers can help you work through the early stages of your diagnosis. They are often available at your health care provider’s office.
- Learn more about what a positive test result means.
Find HIV Care
- If you have a primary health care provider, that person may have the knowledge to treat your HIV. A primary health care provider is someone who manages your regular medical care and annual tests.
- If your primary health care provider does not have the knowledge to treat your HIV, they can refer you to an HIV health care provider. You can also find Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program providersexternal icon who can help you access the medical care, medicationsexternal icon, and essential support services you need.
Start HIV Treatment As Soon As Possible After Diagnosis
- Get in care and take medicine to treat HIV (called antiretroviral therapy or ART).
- Taking HIV medicine can reduce the amount of HIV in the blood (called viral load).
- HIV medicine can make the viral load very low (called viral suppression). Viral suppression is defined as having less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
- HIV medicine can make the viral load so low that a test can’t detect it (called an undetectable viral load).
- Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load (or staying virally suppressed) is the best thing you can do to stay healthy. Having an undetectable viral load also helps prevent transmission to others. In fact, if you have an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex. Most people can get the virus under control within six months.
- Learn more about the benefits of HIV treatment.
Living With HIV Topics
Page last reviewed: April 7, 2021