Know your HIV status, take charge of your life

New Start, an HIV-testing service, urges all people to take charge of their lives by knowing their status and disclosing it.

New Start, an HIV-testing service, urges all people to take charge of their lives by knowing their status and disclosing it.

Mirriam Mhazo a senior programme manager at New Start, says while it is an individual's choice to not disclose, revealing your status helps build a good support system - emotional, financial and material.

"If you are well informed and have a positive attitude, you can deal with your HIV status better," she says.

Steps to manage HIV:

l TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

Now that you have been diagnosed HIV positive, it is important to come to terms with your fears and feelings about your status. Taking responsibility for your life is part of taking responsibility for your health.

l ONE DAY AT A TIME

Take one day at a time. It is easier to start by planning for one day than for a lifetime. Try to live today as best you can.

l REALISE YOU STILL HAVE A FUTURE

Make plans for the future. You still have opportunities ahead of you, so do not let other people's depressing stories influence your own life.

l RELAX

There will be times when you will feel completely overwhelmed. Stop panicking and take a few deep breaths. This will clear your mind and allow you to calm down.

l KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Educate yourself about HIV. By equipping yourself with knowledge and listening to the advice of your counsellors and doctors you can start making informed choices on your health.

l UNDERSTAND YOUR MEDICAL CARE NEEDS

Ask your doctor for more information about HIV and treatment. If you are on treatment, remember to take your medication as prescribed. Being in control of your treatment and making sure you get the right treatment will only benefit your health.

l REALISE YOU NEED THE SUPPORT OF YOUR LOVED ONES

Remember that you are not alone. Your family and close friends and your counsellor will all offer you the love and support you need.

l MAKE THE RIGHT LIFE CHOICES

By making the right lifestyle choices you can achieve a balance between mind, body and soul.

X