I’ve accepted that I have HIV, but what do I do now?

You need to start by remembering that you are going to be okay. You can still live a long, healthy, and normal life. You just need to take control of the situation.

If you haven’t already started on treatment, that is priority number one. Without it, HIV will increase in your body and eventually make you sick. That daily pill is your weapon for keeping HIV down and staying strong and healthy. It is important that your healthcare provider explains what HIV is and how the treatment works. Also feel free to ask questions and raise any concerns you might have.

Another step is to tell someone that you have HIV. That can be scary because you might worry about how they will react. You might feel like you would rather try to keep it a secret, but it really helps to tell someone. Carrying it around as a secret can be heavy and stressful. 

Watch this Amaze.org video to get tips on how to tell someone close to you about your status.

Remember, who you tell and when and how you tell them is your decision. You don’t have to tell anyone unless you feel safe and comfortable to do so.

For now, think about telling your partner if you have one, or maybe a friend or family member. It’s especially important to find a way to tell your partner, so that they can also get tested and be able to stay healthy.

If you need to talk to someone and don’t have someone that you feel you can trust around you, here are some numbers you can call and remain completely anonymous: 

  • loveLife Call Centre: 0800 121 900 (from any Telkom public phone)

loveLife Pls Cal Me Service:
Vodacom: *140*0833231023#
MTN: *121*0833231023#
Cell C: *111*0833231023#
Telkom: *140*0833231023#

It’s important to talk with someone if you notice any of the following, so that you can get the help you need to start feeling better:

  • You feel down and depressed a lot.
  • You struggle to get up in the morning.
  • You feel tired all the time.
  • You can’t sleep properly.
  • You think about hurting yourself or someone else.
  • You think about death or dying a lot

You can live a long and healthy life with HIV. Being diagnosed as HIV-positive may feel like the end of your life, but it’s not. 

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