If you just found out...

Finding out you have HIV may be a shock. But you do not have to go through this alone: There is help. With the right treatment, care and support, HIV can be managed and you can live a long and healthy life.

You’ve already taken the first step by getting tested. Now it is important to get care and treatment as soon as you can.

1. The sooner you start treatment the better it is for your health. With proper care and treatment, you can live a long and healthy life.  

2. HIV medications are easy to take and usually cause few side effects. Talk to the person who gave you your test results about finding a healthcare provider who treats people with HIV. If they cannot connect you with a healthcare provider, visit to find providers and services in your area.

3. HIV treatment helps to prevent HIV from passing to others. If you are on successful HIV treatment you will not pass HIV to the people you have sex with. This is called Undetectable=Untransmittable (U=U).

This is just one of many prevention options that makes it easier than ever to prevent HIV. Using condoms and new equipment to inject drugs can also help to prevent passing HIV. To find out more about how to prevent passing on HIV, talk to a public health worker or other healthcare provider.

4. Public Health can help you to inform your current and past sex and drug using partners that it is important for them to have an HIV test. If you are not comfortable contacting them, the public health worker can do so on your behalf. This can be done anonymously, without giving your name to the people contacted.

5. You don’t have to tell everyone that you have HIV but, in some cases, you do have a legal duty to tell your sex partners. For more information, contact the HIV Legal Network at

6. Getting support is important. HIV organizations can provide information and counselling and connect you with other services in your area. To find an HIV organization in your area, talk to your healthcare provider or visit

Here are some resources to help take you through the next steps:

Coming to terms with your diagnosis

Healthy living

  • The Positive Side, CATIE’s health and wellness magazine for people living with HIV

Safer sex and safer drug use

HIV treatment

  • Starting treatment from Your Guide to HIV Treatment, CATIE’s guide to antiretroviral therapy

HIV and the law