What if I test positive?

What if I test positive?


Find emotional support

For many people, receiving a positive diagnosis can be a shocking and upsetting experience. People describe feelings of despair and shame, they blame themselves for their actions and fear that their life as they know it will be over. This is internal stigma, and if these feelings are familiar to you, the best way to overcome them is to talk to someone about your feelings. No one can carry the burden of a disease on their own, and most positive people have at least one person who supports them. This could be a friend or relative, a health worker, partner or spouse, a priest or counsellor.

The AIDS Helpline has experienced counselors available 24 hours a day on 0800 012 322. You can find a support service on www.healthsites.org.za

Remember that HIV can be managed with treatment and you are still the same person, positive or negative. You are not alone.

Importance of overcoming self stigma

Many people fear that they will be stigmatised by their friends, employer, family or community.

It is important to disclose your status to a sexual partner, both for support as well as to enable them to protect themselves if they are HIV negative, and to prevent re-infection if they are positive. Use condoms to protect sexual partners at all time.

It is important to disclose to your family so that they can support you Everyone’s disclosure is unique and very personal, and some people find it difficult. If you are struggling, ask someone who knows your status to help you, and speak to other HIV positive people to hear about their experiences of disclosing to family, sexual partners and friends. Many people say that they were expecting harsh words or rejection but received love and support.

HIV and Sex

Can I continue to have a sexual relationship if I am HIV positive?

Yes you can.Many people are in relationships where one partner is negative and the other is positive, or both are positive. They manage this through communication, care and condom use. It is important to use condoms consistently and correctly to reduce the chance of infecting an HIV negative partner but also reinfecting each other if both of you are HIV positive. You cannot get HIV from kissing. There is a small chance that you can get HIV from oral sex, so avoid it if either of you have any cuts in your mouth or on your genitals.

Can I have a baby if I am HIV positive?

Yes, you can. If you and your partner are planning to have a baby, consult with your health care professional about the best way to do this with minimum risk of HIV transmission to the baby and partner.

Learn more about how well Simiso Msomi is living positively with HIV. WATCH