If your results come back positive after having an HIV test, the next step is usually to be referred to a specialist outpatients clinic in a hospital. Here you will receive support, treatment and regular check-ups.
You will also need to have regular blood tests to check your CD4 cell count and also to monitor your general health, and you will find out your results from these tests at the specialist HIV clinic. Click here for more about blood tests.
Your general health will be monitored at your appointments. This will involve different kinds of tests as well as reviewing the effectiveness of treatments you are undergoing. For more detailed information on what to expect at each stage of the appointment process, click here.
All of the staff in specialist HIV clinics are specially trained and experienced in supporting people who are living with HIV - therefore you can expect to receive advice and be offered options that are relevant to you, including the best treatments available. Staff should listen and respond to your needs appropriately, and allow you a confidential, safe space to talk through your concerns and ask questions.
It is natural to have questions, and asking them will assist your doctor in meeting your needs more effectively - so don't be afraid to ask away! If a treatment is not going well for you, or you have health issues - or any other concern, then air them with the professionals at these appointments to address hurdles in a positive way and receive practical advice.
If you haven't had a test yet, read our page
Remember! It is essential to stay emotionally healthy as well as physically. Talking about how you feel about what is happening in your life with the health practitioners at the clinic will allow them to help you access services to support you in maintaining good mental health and in coping with the day to day challenges that may arise. If you feel you would benefit from some counselling click here for a comprehensive directory.