You may have just found out you have HIV and you now feel like your life is over. It might have hit you as a shock and left you feeling a lot of different emotions—fear, shame, regret, anger, depression, or denial. Feeling this way is normal but don’t stress, it’s going to be okay.
What is HIV?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and is a virus that attacks your body’s immune system. Your immune system is your body’s way of staying healthy and fighting off disease. The word ‘immunodeficiency’ means that it makes the immune system weak.
What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Did you know that HIV and AIDS are not the same thing? When you have AIDS, it means that HIV has weakened your body to the point where you are at risk of dying.
These days there is no reason for anyone to reach the point of having AIDS. HIV is now a very manageable health condition and people with HIV can live just as long as anyone else. You just have to make sure you take your meds every single day.
Here are some other things to remember about having HIV:
It’s not the end of the world
Forget all the negative things you have thought or heard—HIV does not have to be a big problem anymore. The truth is that it is not difficult to manage. Just take your medication every day and you can still live a great life.
Don’t blame yourself
There’s no point in focusing on how you got HIV or what you wish you had done differently. It is better to put your energy into what you are going to do now to stay strong and healthy.
Own your status
Let go of any fear or shame. HIV is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. Millions of people are living with HIV and doing great. Rather be proud that you’re taking charge of your health.