If you are diagnosed with HIV, starting treatment as soon as possible helps protect your long-term health.
Your doctor will give you information about HIV and tell you what to expect from starting treatment and managing HIV. They will ask for your medical history and take some blood tests.
Some of the tests will be to determine your HIV viral load. This measures the amount of virus in your body and how much it’s affecting your immune system.
Once the tests are complete, your doctor will encourage you to start on the most appropriate HIV treatment so you can stay healthy.
Why is it best to start HIV treatment early?
Early or immediate HIV treatment increases life expectancy, improves health and prevents serious illness. The sooner you start treatment, the sooner you can reduce the amount of virus in your body.
Untreated HIV can affect your immune system which means your body is less able to protect itself from disease. This can lead to organ damage and an increase in some cancers.
Early treatment can help prevent this damage, and help you enjoy a full and healthy life.
Inform your partners and start a sexual health plan
It’s important to contact previous sexual partners to let them know you’ve been diagnosed with HIV and they may have been exposed. This will allow them to get tested as quickly as possible, and to start treatment if necessary.
Now is also the time to start a sexual health plan to help protect you and your partners from HIV and other STIs. This can involve starting and staying on HIV treatment, going for regular sexual health tests and using condoms to help prevent most STIs.