World AIDS Day 2017: What to do after being diagnosed with HIV

Had unprotected sex — got tested for HIV with the rapid testing kit — it showed HIV positive status — what to do next?? Most people with the disease know everything about the diagnosis and the treatment options available but do not how to proceed. Does the person have to go for a lab test after the at-home test gives a positive result? Or Do the person needs to repeat the tests after six months and then consult a doctor? What doctor should a person with the viral disease contact? And so on and so forth. So to help you out, Dr V Sam Prasad, Country Programme Director, AIDS Healthcare Foundation explains the steps to follow after being tested positive for HIV.

#1. In reality, if you have two rapid fingertip blood test coming as positive, then it has to be taken as an HIV positive (given that two different methodologies are used and both give positive results indicating that the person is positive). However, as per the current guidelines for HIV in India, test kits are seen as a screening test. Hence, if the results are positive then you have to go for a confirmatory test (lab test). Here’s more about the diagnosis of HIV you need to know.

#2. Secondly, one must keep in mind that being HIV positive does not mean the end of the road, so do not panic. Hence, approach the nearest ICTC (Integrated counselling and testing centre) to confirm the diagnosis. Once the diagnosed is done, go with the reports and tell them about your condition. They will take you through the next level of treatment. Here are few Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about HIV.

#3. Once ICTC confirms, pretest counselling followed by testing and then post-test counselling are conducted. After this, they recommend you to the nearest ART (antiretroviral therapy) centre. At this, a referral slip is given to client after filling all the details and recommended to an ART medical officer. When you consult the medical officer, he will examine and understand the morbidity (diseases you might be suffering from if any). If not, he can also recommend a battery of tests to check other infections including the testing for tuberculosis (TB) and hepatitis.

#4. Once the testing is done, it signifies that you are registered for pre ART. This is the stage that the doctors will start with the treatment. In the meanwhile, you will be given a PID number. You can approach for rest of the services after getting started on medications with the help of this number. Read more on the latest advances in HIV treatment in India.

Image Source: Shutterstock

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