Some people only find out they're HIV positive after the virus has started to make them ill and has already begun to damage their immune system. If your medical team tells you that you have a 'late diagnosis' it means that you have tested positive for HIV after the virus has already begun to damage your immune system.
If you're diagnosed at this point you might feel overwhelmed by all of the information given to you. It is natural to look back over what might have prevented your infection, but taking care of yourself s your number one priority now.
You might already feel unwell and many people who receive a late diagnosis are told that they have symptoms of an opportunistic infection. Although this can be serious and can impact your quality of life, you can work closely with your doctor to find the best combination of medication for you to help your immune system.
You don't know how you will react to a positive diagnosis until you are in that situation, so take time to understand what is happening and ask your doctor or health adviser as many questions as you need to.
HIV medication is very good and it can be possible to slow down the progress of the virus if you take special care of your health. Following your medication instructions is especially important if you're diagnosed late.
Being told that you have HIV can be a life-changing, but a late diagnosis usually means that you must adapt to your new situation quickly. There are steps you can take to ensure your general health is as good as it can be so that HIV cannot take advantage of your already-weakened immune system. It is also important to consider your sex life and how you can best protect yourself and your partner(s) from any further risks.