Being diagnosed as HIV positive is a life-changing experience. It can make you feel number of different emotions such as surprise, anger and fear. You might begin to question your future when this happens and start re-living your past sexual behaviour. The important thing to remember is that there is no right way to react - it's your diagnosis and you should take time to explore how you feel and take steps to stay as healthy as you can.
Lots of people have similar thoughts such as wondering if they'll ever have sex again, how long until they become ill and wondering whether others will be able to tell that they have HIV. Little by little you will come to see that HIV is a part of your life but not your whole life.
You might feel numb or overwhelmed after a diagnosis. There are many people to help you at this point and it is a recommendable to take up the post-test counselling that is offered at the time of the test. You may ask as many questions as you like and if you cannot take everything in, don't worry - you can ask them again another time when you are better able to listen and understand what is happening to you.
It is up to you how much support you want at this stage and it is important that you feel comfortable with whomever you go to for help. If you feel that you are struggling with the news, there are many professionals you can go to for advice.
Being told that you have HIV does not mean that you are suddenly going to die and you won't necessarily have to start medication straight away. Your body can fight the virus by itself for some time and your doctor will monitor you so that you start medication at the best time for your health.
The medicines aren't perfect but they are getting better all of the time. New developments in HIV medication are being made all of the time. It doesn't mean giving up on sex, friendships or relationships and if you look after yourself you could very well have a similar lifespan as you would have had without HIV.