The disadvantages of knowing the test results
You may have many different feelings if you find out you are
infected with HIV. It is normal at first to be shocked and deny
that your test results are positive. You may also feel anger and
despair, and blame yourself or others.
It often helps to talk with someone, such as the health worker
who gave you the test results or someone close to you. But be
careful who you tell. Your husband or partner may blame you,
even if he is also infected with HIV. Other people may act afraid
and shun you, because they do not understand HIV or how it is
spread. If possible, see a trained HIV counselor, who can help
you decide who to tell and how to face this change in your life.
The HIV Test 289
IMPORTANT A negative test only means
that you do not have HIV when the test is
taken. If you do not protect yourself, you can
still get infected.
Practice safer sex. Use condoms.
A counselor is someone who listens and talks with a
person and his or her family to help them cope with their
worries, concerns, and fears, and to make their own decisions.
Counseling is important throughout the life of a person
with HIV, not only when they first discover they are infected.
A skilled counselor may be able to help a person:
• decide who to tell about being HIV-infected, and how.
• find the support of others who are also HIV-infected.
• get the care and treatment she needs
early from health centers, including
preparing for and taking ART.
• get the support she needs from
• understand how to stay healthy for
as long as possible.
• plan for her future.
• learn how to be sexual in a safe way.
people with HIV and
their families can
mean the difference
between hope and
despair. As an
from Kenya says,
“When you meet a
good counselor, you
feel as if you have
Many people living with HIV or who have family members with HIV have learned to counsel
others about living with HIV. If you are a health worker or a leader of a religious group, you
can also get training to help those coping with the difficulties of HIV.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012