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What if you test HIV positive?

If your test is reactive (positive), you must have a second test to confirm the result. Either use a second and different HIV rapid test or have an Elisa test at a laboratory. All HIV tests, whether positive or negative, need a second test by a Healthcare Professional to confirm the first result.

Thanks to antiretrovirals (ARVs), HIV is a manageable chronic condition similar to diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension). If your test is positive, it is advisable for you to have a CD4 count (blood) test as soon as possible. It will tell you how urgently you require antiretrovirals. Get informed. Plan your future. Speak to your Healthcare Professional.

Here are a few additional steps that may help you plan your life, if you have tested positive and the test has been confirmed by a Healthcare Professional.

Take control!
Go on with your life: Stay as busy and healthy as possible.

Make a plan to get the best care and treatment possible.

Learn all you are able to about HIV and the best treatment available to you, this will give you more confidence.

Become informed
You probably have many questions about HIV. Speak to your Healthcare Professional and find out everything you are uncertain about.

For example, you may have questions about passing HIV on to your family or partner.
Remember, you will not pass on HIV by means of casual contact in a household such as kissing, bathing or sharing food appliances.

Ensure you are supported
Request help and support from your friends. They are often the best people to give you support because they know and understand you.

Receiving support from peers (people like yourself) in a support group may help you get through a difficult time.
They have faced the same issues you are facing now and can provide support and guidance.

Stay healthy
Live as healthily as possible!

Eat good, nutritious food and get regular exercise.

Limit the amount of alcohol you drink and do not smoke.

Consider getting tested for TB as TB is one of the most common infections for people living with HIV and can be fatal.
Early detection and treatment make it easier to cure.

Ensure you monitor your CD4 count regularly and start antiretroviral treatment (ART) as soon as you require it.

Your right to confidentiality

You have a right to confidentiality: it is the law. Clinics are not allowed to discriminate against you.
The self-test is automatically confidential as only you see the result – it is your choice to share it,
although we do recommend confirming a positive result with a Healthcare Professional as per the guidelines above.

References: In our lives: Information for people living with HIV/Aids, their support groups and clinics. Published by Treatment Action Campaign, December 2013; I’ve tested positive, now what? Published by Community Media Trust.

What if you test HIV negative?

Do everything in your power to stay negative. Protect yourself. Protect others. Make a plan to reduce your risk of HIV.

Use a condom every time you have sex – even if you are circumcised.

Ask your clinic about female condoms (femidoms).

If you are a man, think about being circumcised. Medical Male Circumcision (MMC) reduces a man’s risk of getting HIV by up to 60%.

Reduce your number of sexual partners.

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