Hot Topic: Hot Topic: I’ve Been Recently Diagnosed with HIV
Maintaining Good Health After HIV Diagnosis and Next Steps
How can I stay healthy?
Get into medical care right away. You can locate providers throughout the city, state, and country by visiting: https://findhivcare.hrsa.gov/. The Baltimore City Health Department also offers HIV care at the following locations:
Eastern Sexual Health Clinic
620 North Caroline Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
Phone: (410) 396-9410
Druid Sexual Health Clinic
1515 W. North Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21217
Phone: (410) 396-0176
Take your medicine as your doctor prescribed, regardless of how long you’ve had the virus. The medications you get from your care team are part of the process that will keep you healthy, so it is very important you take them.
Make sure to stay in medical care. In addition to taking your medication, it is also very important you visit you care provider regularly. What is regular will depend on the schedule you and your provider establish. Attend all your appointments!
You may also find it helpful to stick to a more nutritious well-balance diet. Possible benefits of having healthy diet when living with HIV are:
- Energy and nutrients your body needs to fight the virus and other infections
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Managing HIV symptoms & complications
- Improves your body’s ability to absorb the HIV medication you are taking and may even help with possible side effects.
Your mental health matters too! You may find it helpful to meet and talk with others also living with HIV. For information on local support groups please visit: https://npin.cdc.gov/search/organization/support.
What can expect during my care appointment?
During your HIV care appointments, you can expect your health care provider to do any of the following:
- Conduct medical exams to see how HIV is affecting your body.
- Ask you questions about your health history.
- Take a blood sample to check your HIV viral load.
- Look for other kinds of infections or health problems that may weaken your body, make your HIV worse, or prevent your treatment from working as well as possible.
- Give you immunizations, if you need them.
- Discuss, prescribe, and monitor your HIV medicines.
- Discuss ways to help you follow your HIV treatment plan.
- Help identify additional support you may need.
- Ask you about your sex partners and discuss ways to protect them from getting HIV
Do I have to tell my partner, family, friends, or others?
No – there is no law in Maryland that requires you to share your HIV status with others. But to stop the spread of infection it is important sexual or needle sharing partners are tested for HIV as soon as possible. These conversations can be challenging but there are a few ways to let them know:
- You can tell your partners yourself
- The health department tells your partners; this is sometimes called “Partner Services”.
- You and the health department staff work together to tell your partners
Sharing your HIV status with certain family members and friends that you trust has its benefits; it can help you emotionally deal with your HIV diagnosis and keep track of your medical care.
Worried about your current or future partners?
When you and your doctor find a medication that works best for you and your body and you take it as prescribed you can become what’s called “undetectable”. A person who is undetectable has a viral load (amount of HIV in the blood) that is so low they cannot spread HIV to others.
You can also prevent passing the infection to your partners if you use condoms the right way every time you have sex and encouraging your partners to talk to their doctors about PrEP.
For more information about PrEP resources in Maryland, please visit: https://prepmaryland.org/content/where-get
- HIV/AIDS: Telling Others. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/livingwithhiv/telling-others.html. Updated July 25, 2018.
- Healthy Living with HIV. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/livingwithhiv/healthy-living.html. Updated July 23, 2018.
- Understanding Care. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/livingwithhiv/understanding-care.html. Updated August 27, 2018.
- Living with HIV 10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/library/factsheets/cdc-hiv-living-with-hiv-101.pdf. Published July 2018.