What is it?
Living with HIV is the term used to describe people who are HIV-positive. Over the last three decades, there’s been a lot of progress in the way HIV is managed and treated.
With proper treatment, it’s now possible to live ‘well’ with HIV and reduce the risk of spreading HIV to others. HIV treatments are medications known as antiretroviral therapy (ART).
ART can’t ‘cure’ HIV. But, it can reduce the amount of HIV cells in the body to the point where the virus is undetectable. This means the risk of spreading HIV is low.
ART is most effective when you take it as soon as possible after testing positive. Your GP can help you learn more about HIV treatments.
What will my GP do now?
When you’re first diagnosed with HIV, it can be hard to take everything in at once.
You may need to see your GP several times in the space of a few weeks to make sure you understand everything and have all your questions answered.
Your GP will:
- Refer you for an initial review with an HIV specialist
- Discuss your legal duties about telling your previous and future sexual partners
- Discuss risky behaviours to avoid – now, and in future
- Discuss right to privacy
- Give you support groups to help you cope and connect with others
What will my GP do in the future?
In future, your GP’s main role is to help you live well with HIV. Your GP will provide specialty care for your HIV status as well as regular care for your ongoing health and wellbeing.
As your primary carer, your GP will also:
- Test your ‘viral load’ regularly
- Modify your treatment based on your test results
- Help you learn how to take your medications
- Review any existing medications and check for drug interactions and side effects
- Take other tests as necessary, including regular cancer screening
- Maintain your vaccinations
- Monitor your overall health and wellbeing
- Give you support and resources to cope
- Refer you to a specialist if you have a complex health issue