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HIV positive? What’s next?

Dr. David: I just found out that I’m HIV positive. What do I do now and how soon do I start treatment? I’m a doctor.
Dr. Demetre: I’m Dr. Demetre.
Dr. David: And I’m Dr. David.
Dr. Demetre: We’re HIV doctors.
Dr. David: And we’re here to answer your questions on HIV and sexual health. So, for the first question, what do I do now, the answer to that is don’t panic. HIV is not the death sentence that it used to be back in the 80’s and the 90’s. We have a lot of great medications and the key is getting on medications early so we can reduce some of the replication of the virus in the bloodstream. Second of all, is that if you do test positive this is going to be a change to your life and so you want to check your mental health, so whether you have friends, whether you’re religious, spiritual, you have support systems, tell somebody. And then, after that, you want to go see a medical provider as soon as possible. If that involves going to a community-based organization or asking around to maybe some friends who you know are HIV positive who they would recommend, but just go to a place where you know you can get on medication. So the important thing in those three steps: don’t panic, check your mental health, get the support that you need, and go see a medical provider.

Did you recently test positive for HIV, or know someone who has? Not to worry, #AskTheHIVDoc has your back. Dr. David talks about what you need to know after a diagnosis, including the benefits of starting treatment right away.

If someone tests positive for HIV, it’s important to see a health care provider and establish a care and treatment plan. Antiretrovirals (ARVs) are prescription medications that work to lower the viral load of an individual with HIV, often to levels that are undetectable by standard lab tests. In addition to improving health, getting and keeping a low viral load also prevents the spread of the virus.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of HIV treatment. 


#AskTheHIVDoc is a video series from Greater Than HIV featuring top HIV doctors providing answers to commonly-asked questions about HIV prevention, testing and treatment.

This information is shared for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at time of filming. Always consult a health care provider for any personal health decision.

While we make every effort to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information reflects the most up-to-date research. Also, please note the views expressed by individuals who appear in Greater Than HIV videos and other content are their own and are not made on behalf of any groups/organizations/associations.