I tested HIV positive, what do I do now?

Well done for getting tested! Testing for HIV is one of the most empowering things a young person can do. You are probably asking: ‘How can knowing my HIV status be empowering?’ Well, knowing your HIV status gives you the power to take action, either by getting onto treatment or by staying HIV negative. These actions can help you to fulfill your dreams of a future -- with a job, a family of your own, and time with friends and family that bring you happiness.

Getting an HIV-positive diagnosis is the start of a new journey and can be very scaryat first. After getting your HIV-positive diagnosis you will need to visit your clinic to see if you should start antiretroviral treatment (ART). If you are having difficulty coping with your HIV-positive diagnosis, talk to a counsellor or social worker at your clinic. Also try to get accurate information from your clinic on HIV/AIDS, HIV transmission and how to stay healthy.

One of the important things to do is to disclose your status to someone you trust and who can support you on this journey. Make sure that you are informed about HIV before you disclose your status so that you can correct any misinformation and myths you might hear. You do not have to disclose your status to anybody unless you are comfortable to do so. If you find it difficult to disclose on your own, you can get help from a counsellor or trusted person. You can also join a club or support group where you can get updated information and extra support.

Remember the words of Nelson Mandela (2008) when you feel scared: "The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear".

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B-Wise User Miss Lu 26 June 2020 08:32

Hi, I started my ARV (atroiza)treatment about 3 weeks ago when I tested positive, at first I used to be really drowsy but now I'm ok, I do however feel a bit lightheaded and nauseous from time to time. I want to know how long does it take for your body to get used to the treatment, on average how long do the side effects last -I know it might be different for other people because our bodies are not the same. I also understand that your viral load can be so low that it's undetectable, how long after starting treatment can this happen and besides ART what other methods,medication or foods can I use to suppress my viral load. Is it possible for your viral load be high even if you take treatment. I usually take my treatment at 22:00 and I can literally feel its effect after an hour or so,if I happen to get a job that requires me to work shifts (5 days night shift, 5 days day shift), can I change the time of treatment every time I change my shift, will it have an effect on my viral load, will they even work properly.

B-Wise Expert Expert 2 July 2020 09:46


Thank you for taking your treatment diligently.

3 weeks of treatment is still fairly new, the average time you give to adjust to treatment and its side effects is 8 weeks, rightfully so people are not the same and they react differently. Some take 8-12 weeks to adjust and some are quicker.

Viral load can only be suppressed by using ARVs, what ever you may use as supplements needs to be accompanied by your ARV treatment always.

You can adjust the time you take your treatment to suit you, the most important thing is you take treatment daily, it really depends on you on how you want to do it. So please be flexible to move your timing around, but please make sure you have treatment everyday as prescribed by your clinic and doctor.

B-Wise User Mstee 31 May 2020 14:43

Hi, I am hiv+ and it has been a week since I started taking ARVs, I am taking prophylaxis to prevent chests infection as well. However my Cd4 count was quite low and I am concerned about tb. Should I ask my doctor to screen me for tb and also can I use both clinic and private doctor for consultations or should I stick to one?

B-Wise Expert Expert 31 May 2020 16:51


Yes, ask your doctor to screen you. You can use both but it will be difficult because you need to go to one place where they have your records and history

B-Wise User Anonymous 25 May 2020 16:19

Hi, I tested postive for hiv and just started my treatment two days ago. My viral load is 46400. I terminated a pregnancy on the 8th of may. Could this have had any effect on my viral load or Cd4 count? Also could it be that I had hiv before I was even pregnant because I had flu in late March and early April. Again, my hands are a little shaky but I donâ??t feel pain or sick. Is it the side effect of art? (Iâ??m taking tribuss, and meds for sinusitis and DS24 as a multivitamin)

B-Wise Expert Expert 2 June 2020 14:09


Your viral load is high because you were never on ARVs in your life, now that you have started treatment it should go down within 6-8 weeks and suppress. The termination of pregnancy could have an effect on the CD4 as it responds to stress and sickness , but Viral load suppresses well on ART.

Challenge with HIV is you can never know when you contract the virus, you can never be definitely sure, except if you have one partner ,you have tested negative before engaging in unprotected sex and you are also faithful.

Because you have just started with treatment you are bound to experience side effects of the ARVs , but if the feeling gets worse you need to re-visit your clinic and explain what is happening and they also assess you further. Good luck

B-Wise User Anonymous 24 May 2020 20:36

Hi, I tested hiv+ like a week ago and started my treatment as in yesterday. Iâ??m really scared to be quite honest and Iâ??m already thinking about Ops, but my doctor assured me Iâ??ll be fine as long as I take the prescribed treatment. My viral load is quite high and Cd4 count below 200. Iâ??m thinking of taking drugs for prevention of pneumonia so is it early or should I ask the doctor to prescribe it? Also Iâ??m in need of someone to talk to since Iâ??m at home and o a lockdown I get anxious about the whole infection

B-Wise Expert Expert 25 May 2020 15:00


Talk to the doctor about the pneumonia meds.

Use the contact information below to talk to a counselor who can give you advice:

Get in touch with LoveLife's Contact Centre on 0800 121 900 or send a PLZ CAL ME to 083 323 1023 

You can also whatsapp Life Line at 065 989 9238

B-Wise User Kimberly naidoo 20 May 2020 21:50

I also experienced the same difficulty last of last year I was sick I had a bad flu I went to the hospital for a checkup and they tested for HIV it was negative but this year when they tested it was positiveð??­ð??­what is happening should I go for a second opinion

B-Wise Expert Expert 21 May 2020 15:55


Yes, you should go for a second opinion.

B-Wise User Anonymous 16 June 2019 14:51

I tested positive 6 months ago and when I went back to test again the test came out negative.I am still continuing with my ART but I am confused to as why the results said negative because even the counselor couldn't answer that.

B-Wise Expert Expert 16 June 2019 21:16

Hi there, thank you for your question. The reason is that the test may not be accurate at first, thats why you need to take a second test to get the right results 

B-Wise User Anonymous 10 January 2017 15:25

Is it possible for a woman to test positive whiles a man negative but they have been having unprotected sex for 4 years? What are the chances

B-Wise Expert Expert 13 January 2017 11:15

There are three ways you can get HIV, through sex without a condom with someone who is HIV positive, from an HIV positive mother at birth or from a dirty needle. The female partner should go to the clinic to get tested, even if her male partner tests negative. If she finds out she is positive, she needs to start treatment immediately. They’ll also need to use a condom every time to make sure the negative partner stays negative. 

B-Wise User ntsimep 19 March 2016 14:22

Tell me more about HIV

B-Wise Expert Expert 20 April 2018 15:05

Hi NTSIMEP, HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and it is a germ (virus) that attacks your bodys way of staying healthy and fighting off disease. You catch it from another person that has the HIV in their body. Check out https://b-wise.mobi/english/health-issues/hiv/ for more information.

B-Wise Expert Expert 21 March 2016 00:51

Hi NTSIMEP, HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus and it is a germ (virus) that attacks your bodys way of staying healthy and fighting off disease. You catch it from another person that has the HIV in their body. Check out https://b-wise.mobi/english/health-issues/hiv/ for more information.