Living With HIV -

Testing HIV positive often leaves people feeling overwhelmed, confused and scared. It is important to remember that HIV is a manageable infection that can be controlled, but not cured, with HIV medicines (called antiretrovirals or ARVs) 

Knowing your status (whether HIV negative or positive) allows you to make decisions about looking after your health. If you are HIV positive, you may have a lot of questions and it is a good idea to ask to speak to someone who can help answer your questions– see the contact section on 


 HIV positive people who take treatment correctly can have a normal quality of life and live a normal lifespan.

The virus HIV affects your immune system. Health workers know how HIV is affecting your body by doing a simple blood test called a CD4 count. Your CD4 count tells health workers how strong your immune system is. It will help guide you and your doctor decide when to start taking HIV medicines (antiretroviral treatment or ARVs). Current world guidelines say you should start treatment when your CD4 count approaches 500. 

Health workers may also do a test called a Viral Load, which tells you how strong the HIV is in your blood. Viral load tests are not always available, however these tests tell you and your doctor how well the HIV medicine is doing at treating HIV.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as syphilis, hepatitis or genital warts can be very serious for HIV positive men. It is important to learn as much as you can about HIV, STIs and sexual health: A good place to start is the section on on Sexually Transmitted Infections.