If the test result is positive?

For most people, being diagnosed with HIV is a life-changing experience. After finding out that you have HIV you are likely to be experiencing a whole range of emotions at this time.

But it is good to know that finding out that you have HIV means that you are in the best position to look after your health (physical and mental) and general wellbeing. This is likely to include accessing HIV treatment and care and it means a longer and healthier life. It is reassuring to know that people with HIV are loved and accepted, maintain and form relationships, have children, and lead fulfilling and productive lives. Leading a healthy lifestyle is a good start. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a good diet, exercising, not smoking, drinking sensible amounts of alcohol, and avoiding or moderating drug use.

There are organizations in Serbia and all over the world that provide support to people who have just found out they are HIV-positive and they will be able to help you find out how to get the best available treatment and care.

Looking after your emotional health is also very important. It is good to have somebody you trust who you can talk to about your feelings and discuss any problems you may have. Living with HIV can be hard at times, and most people need the help of others from time to time so do not be frightened to ask for help.

You will need to weigh up the pros and cons of telling someone that you have HIV. On the one hand, restricting the number of people who know that you have HIV will keep the information private. Some people fear stigma, rejection, or even violence because they have HIV. But by not telling anyone, it can also mean that you are unable to access valuable sources of love, help and support. Telling current, previous or new sexual partners can be a difficult decision and you could talk this over with someone at your clinic.

In some countries there are laws setting out when you do or don't need to tell certain people about your HIV status. The Criminal Law in the Republic of Serbia considers intentional and negligent form of transmission of HIV infection as a crime, this includes keeping your status as a secret from your current sexual partner.

Serbia and many other countries in the world have some sort of legislation in place to protect people living with HIV against discrimination if they do tell people about their HIV.