A lot of people tell us that they put off getting tested for HIV because they’re scared of getting a positive result – that the consequences will be too much to deal with.

The reality is that these days HIV is most dangerous when you don’t know that you have it.

If you are testing in a NZAF centre and...

The result is negative, we’ll discuss with you how you can help keep yourself and your sexual partners safe in the future.

The result is positive, you are in safe hands. We will look after you, advise you on next steps and call support people as appropriate. In either case, we have services available for ongoing counselling if you have any issues relating to HIV, sexual life or your general wellbeing.
The first thing that will happen is you will be referred on to specialist care who will run a test to confirm your result and give you your diagnosis.

It’s important to take a deep breath and remember these things that might help in this moment:

  • You are not going to die. In Aotearoa, you can be connected to free treatment as soon as possible – likely the same day
  • Today’s treatments mean that HIV is a manageable condition and your life expectancy is the same as an HIV-negative person
  • Starting HIV treatment as early as possible increases your chances of getting the most health benefits from your medication
  • Most people on effective treatment get to what is called an undetectable viral load – which means HIV cannot be passed on sexually
  • There is support available to help you come to terms with a positive result, answer any questions you have, as well as help you to navigate the health system and life with HIV
  • Today's treatments mean that many people living with HIV are leading long and active lives.  HIV is no longer a death sentence. If you are on treatment, HIV is a serious but manageable health condition.

For more information on living with HIV click here.

Confirmatory testing – test again in a few months

You might hear this during your appointment or read about it around the place - this just means, due to the window period for HIV, rapid-test results need to be confirmed again in around three months.

Free counselling

The New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) provides counselling for free to anyone who is living with, or thinks they may be at risk of HIV, as well as their friends, partners and whānau. Counsellors are all trained, professionally qualified specialists. You can talk to them about anything that has come up - from relationship issues, to grief, anxiety, finances or how things are going at work.

If you live in Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington make an appointment with an HIV counsellor using this form. If you live outside those areas call the NZAF on 0800 802 437 and they will connect you with the HIV counselling service closest to you.

The NZAF network

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