HIV 101: What Will Change Now That I’m HIV-Positive?

Everyone has questions when they find out they are positive. In this series of posts, here are several of the most common, plus straightforward answers to help you navigate this new life of yours.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

February 28 2014 5:00 AM ET

With proper treatment, being HIV-positive is a manageable, chronic condition like lupus, diabetes, or asthma. You might need to exercise caution with some of your regular activities. Unless you had other health conditions prior to diagnosis, you’ll likely see a physician more than you did before because it’s vital that you monitor your health closely. Regular visits with your HIV health care provider will keep you up to date on everything concerning your health. Speak with your doctor about changes that need to be made to your diet, exercise regimen, and use of alcohol, prescription medicines, and recreational drugs. If drugs were a factor in your transmission (there’s a link between crystal meth use and HIV transmission, for example), your doctor might recommend rehab. You may tire more easily, be more prone to infections, have medical side effects you didn’t have before. But hands down, the biggest change in your daily routine will be taking medication, if you and your doctor decide this is the best treatment option for you. HIV medication requires strict adherence to the prescribed daily dosage, and the drugs often have side effects. Open communication with your doctor will ensure that you are fully equipped to handle the changes in your life.

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