Newly Diagnosed: What Next?

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Over the coming months this blog will expand with other things to consider; thinkingPSO Blog 26.03.15 shutterstock_257493502 about treatment, thinking about sex, thinking about disclosing, thinking about me, thinking about getting involved with the sector. Today, let’s focus on the topic at hand, Newly Diagnosed: What’s Next?

I think it’s important to start this blog emphasising that there is no cookie-cutter approach to managing or dealing with a HIV positive diagnosis. This journey is unique and fundamentally different for everyone. This series of blogs will provide you with advice on things you could consider, rather than a checklist for you, take on board as much, or as little as you are ready for.

Also, know that we are available to support you through this process. The Peer Support and Communications Officer is available by phone, email, skype and face-to-face, from the Brisbane Resource Centre.

Don’t Panic

You may feel a sense of loss. This is completely normal. You have after all just been given a life-changing piece of news. However, remember that HIV is now a long term manageable condition. Today, if detected early and you link in with appropriate medical care, with regular monitoring and treatment you can live a long, healthy, happy and productive life.

I want to talk to someone, but don’t feel ready to tell my friends and family

You may want to talk to someone about what you’re feeling, but don’t fell ready to disclose to those close to you. You can contact us to have a chat with one of the team, about how you’re feeling, and where you are at.

It is crucial that you understand your legal rights and responsibilities around disclosing your status. For more information about who and when disclosure is required, check out the HIV and the HIV Disclosure and the Law in QLD page of our website. Don’t forget to contact us if you have any further questions regarding HIV disclosure requirements.

Questions

You may have a lot of questions running through your mind. It’s a great idea to write them down, to ask someone later. By writing them down, it means that when you see your doctor, all your questions are in one place – this avoids forgetting to ask something that you really wanted to know. Again, you can also contact us with your questions as well.

Choosing a doctor

One thing to consider is how you want to have your HIV monitoring done. This can be done through sexual health/hospital based clinics, or through an s100 prescribing GP. (s100 prescribers are specially trained doctors in HIV management, and who can prescribe HIV antiretroviral medication). This is something that you may want to start considering. Have a chat with your clinic or to us about what might work best for you.

Loss of libido

A HIV diagnosis can impact your sexual drive and desire. That’s okay – as you adjust to the news, it’s something that will likely return with time. Remember, that HIV positive people are still entitled to an active and fulfilling sex life. Just remember what your requirements are when it comes to HIV Disclosure and the Law in QLD. Also remember, there will be a future blog looking more specifically at thinking about sex, disclosing in this setting etc.

Researching

Some people like to research and educate themselves on HIV following a diagnosis. That might even be how you’ve found your way here. That is great! Educating yourself about HIV is incredibly important following a diagnosis – be careful not to overdo it though, some of the information can be overwhelming and some things may be difficult to understand. Also stick with reputable sources. Sticking with information found through HIV orgs such as QPP is a great idea. Some others to have a look at:

http://www.ashm.org.au/

http://www.poz.com/

http://www.aidsmap.com/

You can request updates from QPP by completing the enquiry form on the contact us page of our website, just request to be added to the distribution list.

If you haven’t done so already, check out our series of films, Talking about HIV. These are real people, living with HIV that are sharing a part of their journeys living with HIV, and the impact that has had on their lives.