Living with HIV
Today, an estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the United States. Thanks to better treatments, people with HIV are now living longer—and with a better quality of life—than ever before. If you are living with HIV, it’s important to make choices that keep you healthy and protect others.
If you’ve been diagnosed with HIV, it means that you were exposed to the virus and a test has shown that you are now living with HIV in your body. Finding a health care team that is knowledgeable about HIV care is an important step in managing your care and treatment. Learn more about health care provider involvement.
Above all, keep in mind that taking treatment regularly is the key to living a long and healthy life as any HIV negative person would. Taking treatment affords a whole variety of options for keeping yourself healthy and happy and to improve your overall wellbeing. Click here to learn more about Living with HIV and HIV diagnosis.
We can connect you with a doctor and other support services if you or someone you know is a person living with HIV.
The Five Steps of HIV Care:
- Testing Positive for HIV: Taking a rapid or a conventional HIV will reveal a positive status for a person living with HIV. Most states require a conventional blood draw when a rapid test has revealed that a person is “preliminary positive.” Some states will allow an additional rapid test to confirm a preliminary positive result.
- Linkage to Care: When a person is diagnosed with HIV, the next step should be to get linked to HIV care and treatment. Most HIV prevention organizations that provide testing are also able to assistance with linkage to care. In most cases, attending the first medical appointment after the diagnosis defines being linked to care.
- Retained in Care: In order to be identified as a person “retained in care”, a person living with HIV will have had two or more documented medical visits with viral load or CD4 tests, performed at least 3 months apart in the observed year.
- Antiretroviral Use: Once in treatment, a medical provider with prescribe antiretroviral treatment (ART) for the person living with HIV. When taken as prescribed, ART helps reduce the viral load and increase the CD4 count. ART helps a person living with HIV to achieve and maintain good help and lowers the risk of transmitting the virus to others.
- Viral Load Suppression: Currently viral load suppression is achieved when the viral load measurement is less than 200 copies/mL. When a person living with HIV maintains six consecutive months of viral suppression, that person is identified as virally suppressed. When a person demonstrates six consecutive months of viral suppression, that person is not able to transmit HIV to others.
Proper treatment can help you live a longer, healthier life. Specifically, HIV treatment can prevent damage to your immune system and help you fight off other infections. Treatment also protects any partner or partners you have by reducing the amount of HIV in your body and reducing your chances of transmitting HIV to others. Ultimately, you should get into care and stay until you become undetectable and untransmittable.
THE IMPORTANCE OF HIV CARE RE-ENGAGEMENT
It is vital for anyone who is diagnosed with HIV to enter treatment and stay in treatment. Those who are diagnosed with HIV but drop out of regular HIV medical care risk the likely increase of viral load which increases the likelihood of transmitting HIV to another person during sex.. Successful re-engagement and retention in the HIV continuum of care will help patients manage their health and keep their viral load suppressed to an undetectable status — reducing the risk of further HIV transmission.
Proper treatment can help you live a longer, healthier life.
- We can assist you with identifying and connecting with a doctor for treatment.
- We can assist you with enrolling in programs that help pay for doctor’s visits, medications and provide connects to other support services.
We can assist you with other services, including: Substance abuse counseling, mental health services, dental care, transportation assistance, food assistance, and housing/rental/mortgage/utility assistance.
- Proof of Diagnosis
- Proof of Identity: license or photo ID
- Proof of Income
- Proof of Residency: utility bill, award letter, etc.