Are You in HIV Denial?


Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 1.2 million people are living with HIV in America. While today HIV can be managed like a chronic disease, a diagnosis can still cause shock and disbelief. If you’ve just been diagnosed with HIV, you might not know what to feel—this is completely normal. However, it’s important to come to terms with your diagnosis as soon as possible.

It’s very common for recently diagnosed individuals to feel anger, dismay, or doubt toward the accuracy of their diagnosis. You might feel like the test was performed incorrectly or that your blood samples were mixed up with someone else’s. But any delays in HIV treatment can have devastating effects on your ability to live as long and healthy a life as you can. Even if you’re processing your positive HIV test, the most important thing you can do after your diagnosis is begin treatment as soon as possible. 

Managing HIV goes beyond just taking your medications—you’ve also got to live a healthy life. These patients and physicians share how you can give your body what it needs to thrive with HIV.

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