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If your test is reactive (positive), you must have a second test to confirm the result. Either use a second and different HIV rapid test or have an Elisa test at a laboratory. All HIV tests, whether positive or negative, need a second test by a Healthcare Professional to confirm the first result.
Thanks to antiretrovirals (ARVs), HIV is a manageable chronic condition similar to diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension). If your test is positive, it is advisable for you to have a CD4 count (blood) test as soon as possible. It will tell you how urgently you require antiretrovirals. Get informed. Plan your future. Speak to your Healthcare Professional.
Here are a few more steps that may help
you plan your life, if you have tested positive
and the test has been confirmed by a
Go on with your life: stay as busy and healthy as possible.
Make a plan to get the best care and treatment possible.
Learn all you are able to about HIV and the best treatment available to you: this will give you more confidence.
You probably have many questions about HIV. Speak to your Healthcare Professional and find out everything you are uncertain about.
For example, you may have questions about passing HIV on to your family or partner.
Remember, you will not pass on HIV by means of casual contact in a household such as kissing, bathing or sharing food appliances.
Ensure you are supported
Request help and support from your friends. They are often the best people to give you support because they know and understand you.
Receiving support from peers (people like yourself) in a support group may help you get through a difficult time.
They have faced the same issues you are facing now and can provide support and guidance.
Live as healthily as possible!
Eat good, nutritious food and get regular exercise.
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink and do not smoke.
Consider getting tested for TB as TB is one of the most common infections for people living with HIV and can be fatal.
Early detection and treatment make it easier to cure.
Ensure you monitor your CD4 count regularly and start antiretroviral treatment (ART) as soon as you require it.
Your right to confidentiality
You have a right to confidentiality: it is the law. Clinics are not allowed to discriminate against you.
The self-test is automatically confidential as only you
see the result – it is your choice to share it,
although we do recommend confirming a positive
result with a Healthcare Professional as per the
References: In our lives: Information for people living with HIV/Aids, their support groups and clinics. Published by Treatment Action Campaign, December 2013; I’ve tested positive, now what? Published by Community Media Trust.
Do everything in your power to stay negative. Protect yourself.Make a plan to reduce your risk of HIV.
Use a condom every time you have sex – even if you are circumcised.
Ask your clinic about female condoms (femidoms).
If you are a man, think about being circumcised. Medical Male Circumcision (MMC) reduces a man’s risk of getting HIV by up to 60%.
Reduce your number of sexual partners.
National AIDS Helpline
0800 012 322
24 hours a day, 365 days a year
The AIDS helpline is operated by Lifeline South Africa and responds to an average of 3500 calls per month. IsiZulu and English are the most common languages spoken by callers and the majority are between the ages of 20-29 years. The main reasons people call the helpline are to talk about how people get HIV, HIV testing and ARV treatment.
You could also call Lifeline itself on 0800 322 322: also 24 hours a day.
National HIV Health Care Workers Hotline
0800 212 506
Mondays to Fridays, 8.30am – 4.30pm
You can ask about HIV testing; post-exposure prophylaxis for health care workers and sexual assault victims; management of HIV in pregnancy and prevention of mother-to-child transmission; antiretroviral therapy; recommendations for laboratory and clinical monitoring; drug interactions and availability; treatment and prophylaxis of opportunistic infections; adherence support and management of tuberculosis. See more at www.napwasa.org
0800 60 60 60
24 hours a day
The Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) is South Africa’s leading sex worker human rights organisation. SWEAT’s services include providing safer sex education, crisis counselling, legal advice and skills training for sex workers. In addition, SWEAT leads on advocating for the advancement of sex workers' human rights through law reform for the decriminalisation of sex work in South Africa. You can also call the National Head office on 021 448 7875 between 9am and 5pm or leave a Pls Call Me, SMS or What’s App message on 071 357 7632.
Triangle Project LGBTI Helpline
021 712 6699
Daily 1pm to 9pm
Triangle Project is a non-profit human rights organisation offering professional services to ensure the full realisation of constitutional and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons, their partners and families. Their three core services centre around Health & Support, Community Engagement & Empowerment and Research and Advocacy. Triangle Project offers a wide range of services to the LGBTI community. These include a variety of health services, such as sexual health clinics, counselling, support groups and a helpline, public education and training services, community outreach and safe spaces, and facilities such as the Drop-In Centre and a library. Their office number is 021 686 4195: 8.30am to 4.30pm.
Health4Men can refer men who have sex with men, gay and bisexual men to the following HIV-related services: testing, monitoring, management and counselling. If you do test positive, you can also expect to receive CD4 testing and counselling. Free antiretroviral treatment therapy and monitoring, based on your CD4 count and other medical factors, is also available.