It is normal to have questions when you find out about your HIV status. As you grow older and have new life experiences, you may have even more questions. Sometimes living with HIV can feel lonely or confusing. It’s important to know that there are a range of people and organisations who can support you and help you understand more about HIV and living well with it.

Your HIV clinic team

You can talk to your doctors and nurses about your treatment and how you feel about it. They are keen to know how your life beyond HIV impacts how you manage your health. Ask them any questions you might have about HIV, how your medication works, and if you’re struggling to take it. There may be a few months between appointments, so it can be helpful to write down any questions you may have so you remember them on your next visit. 

  • You could also use this checklist tool we created as a prompt for topics you would like to cover in your appointment.

Family and friends

You may want to talk to the people in your everyday life so they can understand how HIV affects you and you can understand how it impacts them. If you have friends who are not HIV positive, you may want them to understand what it’s like living with HIV. You may want to talk to your parents/carers more openly about HIV in the home or understand what it’s like to be an adult with HIV. If you have been to Freedom 2 Be camp (or other HIV support services), you may find that you know more up-to-date HIV information than some of the people in your personal life. Prepare yourself for that, as conversations may require a bit more patience. You can get support from organisations like Chiva to have these conversations.

  • Watch the video below, which explores the experiences young people have had in talking to others about their HIV, and why it’s important to support young people in telling others, and how to do so. 

Chiva and other HIV charities

You can get support from us on a range of things, from HIV information to how to talk to other people about your HIV. We offer spaces to talk about how you’re feeling, and opportunities to connect with other young people just like you. There are a range of ways you can get involved with Chiva, from one-to-one support, to arts projects, our annual support camp to other regional meet-ups. Get in touch with us if you would like to get support or get involved in one of our projects. 

Other HIV charities also offer support services. Even non-HIV specialised organisations may be able to help. Free, confidential counselling in your area can be found here.

  • Watch the BBC Children in Need video below, a letter from a young person living with HIV and what support from organisations like Chiva has meant.