Coming to terms with HIV
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO LIVE WITH HIV TODAY?
Living with HIV in Australia has changed dramatically since the 1980s and 1990s. Today, many people living with HIV are doing well, living as long as their HIV negative peers and managing HIV in their lives successfully. HIV does still create challenges in people’s lives, but things have come a long way over time, particularly as it relates to medical care.
This said, an HIV diagnosis is often still an enormous shock which everyone reacts differently to. Being affected by a new HIV diagnosis in significant ways is absolutely normal. What follows, is a process of coming to terms with or accepting the diagnosis.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed, you are not alone. By understanding the reality of HIV today, managing your health and accessing support, you can help build your confidence, feel less isolated and adapt to a fulfilling life living with HIV.
Living with HIV is changing
It’s a reality that most people living with HIV are leading happy and healthy lives.
The arrival of HIV combination therapy in the mid-90s began to change our experience of living with HIV. Continuous improvement since then has resulted in treatments that are more effective in suppressing HIV, that are easier to take and with no or few side effects. Most people living with HIV are on treatment – taking as little as one or two pills a day – enabling them to stay healthy. Effective HIV treatment further means a person living with HIV is unable to transmit HIV to their partners.
An HIV diagnosis and living with HIV presents emotional challenges to navigate in addition to keeping on top of your physical health. The experience will be different for everyone, but the reality is that HIV is a chronic manageable illness.
CAN YOU LIVE A HEALTHY LIFE WITH HIV?
You can expect to live a rewarding and healthy life like anyone else, but ongoing physical wellness is ultimately going to be dependent on adherence to HIV treatment. People living with HIV have their health regularly monitored. This routine often enables them to take stock of their lifestyles and to achieve better overall health outcomes.
YOU CAN CONNECT WITH HIV-RELATED SUPPORT AND SERVICES
There are a range of services available that can link you to peer support, workshops or counselling. Find out more about where you can get support here.