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Living with HIV 101

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Start medical care and HIV treatment as soon as you find out you have HIV. Staying in medical care can keep you healthy and help protect others


How can I stay healthy with HIV?

  • Get into medical care right away. Locate a provider by visiting
    www.cdc.gov/hivtreatmentworks
  • Take medicine called ART (antiretroviral therapy) as prescribed, regardless of how long you’ve had the virus. This treatment can keep you healthy.
  • Stay in medical care. Visit your health care provider regularly.
  • Find a local support group, and talk to others who have HIV. Locate a group by visiting https://npin.cdc.gov/search/organization/support.
How can I get help paying for ART?

If you have health insurance, your insurer is required to cover some medicines used to treat HIV.

If you don’t have health insurance, or you can’t afford your copay or co-insurance amount, you may be able to get help through Medicaid, Medicare, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, and community health centers. Visit www.cdc.gov/hivtreatmentworks to learn more.

How can I protect others?
  • Take ART every day as prescribed. Taking it every day can make your viral load undetectable. If it stays undetectable, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV through sex.
  • Tell your sex or drug-using partners that you are living with HIV.
  • Use condoms the right way every time you have sex.
  • Choose less risky sex, like oral sex.
  • If you inject drugs, never share your needles or works with anyone.
  • Talk to your partners about them taking daily medicine to prevent HIV, called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP.
  • Get tested and treated for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).