If you just found out
Finding out you have HIV may be a shock. You are not alone. There is help. With treatment, care and support, you can live long and well with HIV. Here’s what else you need to know.
HIV can be treated. It is important to get care and treatment as soon as you can. The person who gave you your test results will make a referral to the Manitoba HIV Program so that you can start your HIV care. In addition to providing medical treatment for HIV, the Manitoba HIV Program supports people living with HIV through:
- A food bank in Winnipeg at Nine Circles Community Health Centre (705 Broadway)
- The Manitoba infant formula program
- Mental health therapy programming
- Social Work and Occupational Therapy
- Indigenous cultural therapy
- Nutrition counseling
- Group programming
Today’s HIV treatments are usually very simple. New HIV medications are easy to take and usually cause few side effects. Treatment can help you stay healthy and greatly lowers your chance of passing HIV on to others.
A public health nurse may contact you. The nurse will talk to you about HIV and about telling your sex partners and (if you use drugs) people you have shared drug equipment with that they should have an HIV test. This is done without giving your name to these partners.
You don’t have to tell everyone you have HIV, but you do have a legal duty to tell your sex partner(s) you have HIV before some kinds of sex. If you have questions about who you need to tell your HIV status to or how to talk to people about your HIV status, you can speak with the person who will be seeing you for HIV care.
You can keep yourself and others safe. HIV can be passed to others during sex or by sharing equipment to use drugs (such as needles). But there are things you can do to practice safer sex—for example, you can use condoms and take HIV medications to maintain an undetectable viral load. If you use drugs, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of transmission, such as using new equipment every time you use. HIV can also pass during pregnancy, birth or nursing, but with proper care and treatment most people can have an HIV-negative baby. Talk to a public health nurse or other health worker to learn more.
Getting support is important. Connect with your healthcare team to find out about supports, groups, counselling, and other resources in your area.
For more information, contact:
- The Manitoba HIV Program
- CATIE: www.catie.ca/ or 1-800-263-1638
- Street Connections: www.streetconnections.ca
- Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network at www.aidslaw.ca
- Sex Friendly Manitoba: www.sexfriendlymb.ninecircles.ca
- Workplace Disclosure Decision Guide: https://disclosureguide.realizecanada.org/
- Financial support for people living with HIV with the PH/A Fund Guidelines: https://ninecircles.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/PHA-Fund-Guidelines.pdf
- Sexuality Education Resource Centre Manitoba (SERC): https://serc.mb.ca/
This content was originally published by CATIE, Canada’s source for HIV and hepatitis C information: www.catie.ca/