It cannot be used to get treatment or infection history for individuals, or to request information on programs and services. Getting a positive HIV test result can be overwhelming.
Even if the result was expected, a positive HIV test will change your life. You may feel scared, angry, depressed or numb.
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You might have many questions or you might just have one or two. All of these reactions are normal.
Below is a list of first steps you can take to stay healthy while living with HIV. This is not a substitute for a doctor visit, but it may guide you to find the help you need. There are health care and social service providers all over Texas who are ready to help.
The first step to staying healthy while living with HIV is seeing a doctor. New treatment options can help people with HIV stay healthy and live long lives.
The sooner you find out you have HIV, the more options you have for treating it. Even though you may not feel sick, you need to learn how HIV is affecting your body. The agency where you received your test result may check back to make sure you have made contact with a doctor.
Finding a doctor who specializes in HIV is vital. Make your appointment as soon as possible. The agency where you received your test result may have already scheduled an appointment for you.
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If not, contact your health insurance company or your primary care doctor to ask for a referral. Or, you can ask other people who are living with HIV where they get medical care.
Case managers are trained to help people with HIV get in and stay in health care. Case managers can also help you get other services that support your long-term health.
Services like housing, transportation, mental health counseling, and substance abuse treatment can help you manage HIV. The agency will schedule an appointment for you to meet with a case manager. There is no charge for case management.
At your first visit, the case manager will determine if you are eligible for any services. He or she will also help you find a doctor if you need one.
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When you call for an appointment, the case manager may tell you about lab tests to have done before your first visit. Because these items may take time to obtain, you should begin to gather them before your appointment.
If you do not have all your documents, you should still go to your appointment. Your case manager can also help you obtain these documents.
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At your first visit, your case manager will explain agency policies and ask questions about your life. These questions may feel very personal. The answers you give are confidential. Your information will only be shared with people who need to know in order to provide services.
Partner services programs at your local health department can help you tell sex and needle-sharing partners. They can also tell partners for you without using your name. Not having vaginal, anal or oral sex and not sharing needles remain the only sure ways to prevent transmission of HIV. If you are sexually active, or if you inject drugs, think about steps you can take to avoid passing HIV to others.
If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, there are medicines you can take to keep your baby from getting HIV during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor now about treatment options for yourself and your baby.
People sometimes wonder what they can do right away to manage HIV. Because HIV is an immune disease, any steps you can take to help your immune system can be helpful. Friends, family, counselors, spiritual leaders and other people living with HIV may all be sources of comfort and strength.
Think about who can support you in living with HIV. Information about patient assistance programs run by drug companies that provide free HIV medications to people who cannot afford to buy them.
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