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HIV Diagnosis in Young People
Discovering a positive HIV status
“my dreams keep me moving” Cbiandi, HIV-positive young person
It may be that you have always known that you have a health condition, and now your family have told you more about it. It may be that you have recently become infected with HIV and have just been diagnosed. Either way, finding out that you have HIV is emotionally very difficult, and something that you will need support with. This support can come from family, friends or professionals like doctors. It can also come from the internet - you can connect with other people through sharing stories and experiences.
What do other young people say?
We asked a group of young people, who have been through the experience of finding out that they have HIV, what is most important for a young person who is going through this. They said:
- An HIV counsellor – This could be a healthcare worker, somebody who can advise you about living healthily and looking into the future. Keep asking questions – however stupid they may seem, it’s their job to answer them!
- Treatment – this is an important aspect of living a long life with HIV. You will need to discuss this carefully with your doctor or other healthcare worker.
If you don’t already have a professional who you can get advice from, you can find an HIV service local to you with this global resource. Sometimes when people find out their status they can also feel depressed. If you find this to be the case, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about psychological support as well.
What you need to remember is that there are over 5 million other young people in the world who live with HIV – you’re not alone. It is a condition that affects your immune system, not who you are – HIV doesn’t have to stop you living your life to the full!
Watch the video on the left for an introduction to what HIV is, and why it is different to AIDS. You may find that knowing the basics can help make HIV less scary.