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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


"Overwhelming" is a word commonly used to describe a new diagnosis of HIV disease. There are so many things to consider. So much to learn. So many questions. So much uncertainty. So much baggage that comes with a disease that is generally associated with unsafe sex or drug use.

Experience has shown that the best way to proceed is to break things into steps. Then deal with them one at a time in the order that works for you. (Survivorship A to Z provides a Prioritizer to help you set and keep track of your priorities.)

Following are steps to consider. with links to additional information.

NOTE: Information can help you feel in control. On the other hand, getting ahead of yourself can be overwhelming. When you are no longer newly diagnosed, we suggest reading: Living With HIV.

Take time to breathe. You are a person living with HIV - not a person dying of it. Whatever happened, happened. There is no use dwelling on it.

Although it may seem like the world has ended for you - it hasn't. You are here today. With treatment, you are likely to live a normal life span. 

The phrase, "Take one day at a time," has become a cliché because it works.

Beating yourself up for whatever happened that resulted in your being HIV positive does no good. There is no way to change the past. Learn from the experience and put it behind you.

Don't be surprised if you experience a rush of emotions. You may feel guilty, confused, shocked, angry, depressed, scared, or a host of other emotions. Actually, you may experience several emotions at the same time. On the other hand, you may feel numb. There are techniques which can help you cope with emotions that appear. They are described below.

The calmer you can be when making major decisions, the more likely you will make effective decisions.

NOTE: Please do not be surprised if you have difficulty absorbing information. Take the time you need. It can help to tell a trusted person what you think you've learned. It  is perfectly reasonable to return to the source of information and ask that it be explained again or in a different way.

For more information, see:

HIV Basics

Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS.  Thanks to medical breakthroughs, HIV is basically a treatable chronic condition.

HIV attacks your immune system. Immune systems are made up of cells that fight infection and disease. One of the most important of these cells that fights infection is called the CD4 cell. It is also called the "T-helper cell" or T-cell.

  • Once HIV is in the body, it infects CD4 (T-cell) cells and makes copies of itself in these cells. This makes new viruses. These new viruses are let out into the blood and infect other CD4 (T-cell) cells. This process kills the CD4 (T-cell) cells and the CD4 (T-cell) count goes down.
  • As CD4 (T-cell) cells are lost, the immune system becomes weak. This makes it harder for your body to fight certain conditions that do not affect most healthy people. These include opportunistic infections (OIs) such as pneumonia, herpes, tuberculosis, and cancers such as lymphoma and cervical cancer.

Currently there is no known cure for HIV. However, there is a variety of drugs which can usually keep HIV in check.
If left untreated, HIV disease is usually fatal. Once HIV enters the blood stream, it lives in a person's cells. If HIV disease progresses to a certain point, it is known as AIDS. For example, if immune system T cells go below 200 as a result of the HIV infection or the person gets an illness generally associated with AIDS such as Kaposi Sarcoma. 

For the stages of HIV disease, see: offsite link

For information on how HIV damages the immune system, see: offsite link

If you do medical research about HIV/AIDS and read grim facts, keep in mind that: 

  • Statistical information about HIV disease is most likely out of date thanks to ongoing medical advances, including what are known as salvage therapies (therapies to use when first line therapies don't work). 
  • By their nature, statistics only provide a general guide so you can prepare in case the "what ifs" occur. Statistics do not predict what will happen to any individual. .
  • Doing medical research can provoke anxiety and possibly even depression.

Expect to hear lots of advice and stories from friends. Keep in mind that information about what happened to other people is "anecdotal." It is not scientific. What happens to other people is frequently irrelevant to your own experience.

For more information, see:

Commit yourself to doing everything you can to keep the virus in check. Don't make any major decisions that you don't have to make right now.

Decide who will be in charge of making medical decisions - you or your doctor(s) or someone else. Keep in mind that there is growing evidence that patients who participate in decisions about their health care do better

Start working on your mental attitude.

  • Expect the best (even though the first few months will likely be difficult.)
  • Be active about your health condition. Start thinking of yourself as a medical consumer instead of as a "patient."
  • Try to keep a positive attitude as much as you can.

Studies show that people who take control do better than those who don't. Still, the choice is yours.

Don't beat yourself up if you have days when you can't do anything. When fear threatens to take over, use it as a trigger to take a moment and center yourself to the here and now.

To additional information, see: Emotions - and what to do about them

Look for a doctor with a large HIV practice who is connected with a quality hospital, in a different locale if necessary. Learn how to maximize your time with doctors.

Choosing an HIV Doctor

Even if you do not need treatment at this point, find the best doctor available to you who has experience treating people with HIV. In many instances, treating HIV is more of an art than a science.

The odds are you don't have to make decisions immediately. This applies to everything from locating a specialist in your condition to deciding whether to take a drug or treatment. Ask the doctor who diagnosed you what symptoms would indicate that a decision has to be made more quickly than he or she indicated, or when to call him/her, or go to the Emergency Room.

The more people with HIV the doctor sees on a regular basis, the more likely he or she is to be on top of the latest treatments, and to have an instinctive awareness of what is going on in patients with HIV.

If no such doctor is available locally, consider traveling to a city where such doctors are available. You can then do your treatment at home and be monitored by your local medical practitioner.

One way to find a doctor who specializes in HIV is to type your zip code in: offsite link

As you will see from our tool to help you choose a doctor, we leave it up to you to determine what else you think is important in a doctor. With HIV, we also suggest that you find a doctor you feel comfortable with - including discussing sensitive subjects. For instance, you need to be honest with your HIV doctor about your sexual practices, drug use, and adherence to any agreed to drug regimen.

Your doctor will be your partner in your health care.

Since there is currently no cure for HIV, assume you will be seeing your HIV doctor for a long time.

To help find a doctor specializing in HIV/AIDS, consider the following:

  • Ask another person with HIV/AIDS
  • Contact your local AIDS Service Organization. For a list of organizations, see: offsite link
  • Look at such sites as offsite link

NOTE: If your HIV doctor is a specialist in internal medicine (basically a family practice), he or she can also be your primary care physician. If your HIV doctor is not your primary care physician, be sure he or she keeps your primary doctor to date after each visit.

Maximizing your time with a doctor

Start preparing to maximize your limited time with doctors by taking the following steps. Taking these steps will also help you feel in control.

  • If you don't have a smart phone with a recording feature, consider buying an inexpensive tape or digital recorder so you can record your sessions and replay them later.
  • Locate a person to go with you to important doctor visits to help ask questions and listen. Sometimes emotions can make it difficult to absorb everything that is said. To learn about patient advocates (which is what a friend who goes with you is called), click here.
  • Buy a scanner or fax machine which allows you to receive and send lab and medical reports.
  • Start keeping a symptoms diary.  It can become a pain in the butt, but it well worth it for your health.
  • Create a list of medications,  keep it up to date, and keep a copy in your wallet. (Survivorship A to Z provides an easy chart that allows you to store your list and print it whenever you need it.)

For more information, see:

Decide whether to start treatment. If so, choose a treatment that fits your life. If you have any question about which treatment to take, get a second opinion.

The decision whether to start treatment

Just because you are HIV positive, does not automatically mean you should start treatment. Discuss whether to start treatment with your HIV specialist.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends treatment (antiretroviral therapy) should be started for the following patients:

  • Treatment (antiretroviral therapy) should be started for patients with a history of an AIDS-defining illness or who have a count of less than 350 CD4 T cells. (There are circumstances where it recommends treatment for people with more than 350 CD4 T cells).
  • Pregnant women
  • People with HIV-associated nephropathy
  • Patients co-infected with HBV when treatment is indicated.

To learn more about the DHHS recommendations, see: offsite link.

What treatment to take

Treatment for HIV disease is by means of a variety of drugs.

These days, there is generally more than one drug that can fit a particular situation. Look for a drug that not only works on the HIV, but also fits your lifestyle. For instance, the number of times the drug has to be taken, and in what circumstances.

To help decide which is the best drug for you and your lifestyle, Survivorship A to Z has a tool which helps compare treatments according to your personal preferences. See: Choosing A Treatment.

Think about so called "alternative" therapies such as massage and aromatherapy as complementary to Western style medicine instead of "either/or."

NOTE: Be sure to tell your doctor about every other prescription and over-the-counter drugs you take. Some may have a negative interaction with certain HIV drugs. To help keep track of your drugs, we provide a List Of Medications.

Second Opinions

It never hurts to get a second opinion, particularly if you have a rare condition or an unusual situation. Treatment is not generally one size fits all. Second opinions have become so standard that doctors are not offended when patients ask for second opinions. (If a doctor objects to your getting a second opinion, it is a valid reason to change doctors). 
Insurance companies generally pay for second and even third opinions. Check with your insurer before getting the opinion so you will know how much the opinion will cost. If you have to pay, you can negotiate the fee and a payment schedule.) 

Ideally the second opinion will come from a doctor experienced with your condition who is not in any way related to the doctor who gave you the first opinion. 

If you have difficulty getting the appointment with another doctor, ask your doctor's office to help. 

If the two opinions differ, don't accept the second opinion just because it is the last one you received. Perhaps the two doctors can come up with a joint recommendation if they talk. Otherwise, continue to get opinions and do research until you are comfortable making a decision. 

Don't let a search for certainty provide a reason for stalling making a decision. 

For more information, see:


Learn to be wise about purchasing, living with, storing and disposing of drugs. Free drugs may be available.

Before agreeing to take any drug, consider the pros and cons, as well as the alternatives. Keep in mind that all drugs have risks.  The longer a drug has been on the market, the more that is known about its effect (both good and bad).

Even if you have health insurance, it is in your interest to purchase drugs for the least price. Also consider other factors such as convenience and what happens if you need an emergency supply.

Drugs which are prescribed for purposes other than those which have been approved by the FDA are known as being used for "off label" use. If an insurer refuses to pay, appeal with your doctor's help.

Take each drug as directed, when you are supposed to, and for as long as you are supposed to.

For drugs that you take on a long term basis, talk to your doctor about finding out if a lesser dose will accomplish the purpose.

Learn how to safely store drugs, and to dispose of unused drugs.

For information see: Drugs 101: Everything You Need To Know (Including how to get them when you cannot afford them)

Non-Western treatments should be complementary, not instead of Western treatments. Cutting edge treatments are available if needed through clinical trials.

Complementary and alternative drugs and treatments (CAM) such as yoga, massage and aromatherapy are a group of medical and health care systems, practices and products that are not presently considered to be a part of conventional medicine. CAM may be used to try to slow disease progression or eliminate the disease altogether, for symptom management, pain relief, or stimulation of the immune system. CAM treatments usually include affectionate care, and often have a spiritual reinforcement.

It is generally recommended if a CAM drug or treatment is to be used, it is in addition to, rather than instead of, western scientific based medicine. This combination is known as "integrative medicine."

For information about complementary treatments, including how to choose a treatment and a person to administer it, click here.

NOTE: If existing treatments are not adequate, cutting edge treatments are available through clinical trials. There may also be treatments in use in other countries that may be of interest.

Decide who to tell about your HIV status, and when. Your answers may be different for family and friends, children and work. If not before, tell your children about your diagnosis if you have symptoms.

Whether to tell people about your HIV status, when to tell them, and what to tell, depends on the situation and why you are thinking of disclosing the information. The decision is a purely personal one. There is no right and wrong unless there is a risk of infecting another person with HIV virus.

In general, there are four situations which give rise to this question. What you decide to do may vary in each situation.  The four situations are:

  • Family, Friends and Acquaintances
  • Children
  • The non-medical professionals in your life such as your lawyer
  • Work

In each situation, consider:

  • The pros and cons of telling.
  • Preparing before you tell.

There are a few givens:

  • Keeping a secret is stressful. The greater the secret, the greater the stress.
  • There is no going back once you tell. As they say: "The cat's out of the bag."
  • Tell your sex partners and other people whenever there is a risk of transmitting HIV.

If you have children

  • Consider telling them about your diagnosis. If you have symptoms they are likely to notice, they will know something is wrong. If you don’t tell them what is happening, children frequently assume it is something they did wrong.
  • Tell each child in a manner that is appropriate for his or her age. Children will know something is happening and will likely assume it is their fault if they are not told.
  • Once you tell a child, watch for aftereffects. They may not show up for awhile.
  • If you need help either telling your children or dealing with their reactions, seek professional help. Also speak with your local disease specific nonprofit organization. They may have tips for you, or can point you to support groups where you may gain necessary information.

For more information, see:

Think of family and friends as part of your health care team. Ask for help when you need it.

Your team

Start thinking about the appropriate people around you as part of your team, just as doctors and other professionals are part of your team. Each member can provide his or her knowledge, advice and support. 

Who is actually involved with you and your health care, and to what degree, is up to you. You don't have to accept help just because it is offered.

Likewise, you can set limits on peoples' participation in your experience. For example, only spend time with people who are positive and supportive.

Expect that people will let you know when they hear stories about other people with HIV or about various treatments. This information can be overwhelming and not helpful. Feel free to let people know what you do or do not want them to pass on to you. Check any information you do learn with your doctor.

Ask for the help you need

Don't wait to ask for help until the burden gets too great or you reach a breaking point. You don't need to be Superman or Wonder Woman and try to deal with everything you did before your diagnosis as well as everything that comes along with a diagnosis.

There  may be times when you will need help either doing everyday tasks such as grocery shopping, child care, or matters directly related to your health such as bathing, accompanying you to doctor appointments or acting as a patient advocate if you enter a hospital.

Make a list of your chores and responsibilities that you can't handle right now. Divide them up among your team.

If you have many needs, consider appointing a family member or friend to coordinate your support team for you. It takes away the burden. It is also helpful to team members because they can more easily say "no" when they need to.

If you need Medicaid (Medi-cal in California) and have too many assets, consider entering into a caregiver contract with a family member or friend. Such a contract is a legal way of reducing your assets. We have an article concerning Caregiver Contracts.  (We also have an article about how to qualify for Medicaid).

Ask someone to go with you to important meetings

It is helpful to have a family member or friend attend all important meetings with doctors. Such a person can help in a batch of ways, including to help ask questions, help recall what was said, and to help relieve anxiety.  We refer to such a person as a Patient Advocate.

We also recommend that you take a digital or tape recorder to every session. You will learn about similar tips in our content about maximizing your time with a doctor

Think about their needs as well as your own.

A diagnosis affects everyone around you. Your needs come first, but theirs should not be ignored.

Just as you need to share your emotions, they should keep talking with one another. Talking keeps mole hill size difficulties from erupting in to mountain size problems.

Relax family rules to fit the situation

For example, meals could be eaten on paper plates with throw away plastic utensils when you are not feeling well. Chores that don't need to be done right away can be postponed.

Non-medical professionals in your life

Tell your insurance broker, lawyeraccountant and other non-medical professionals in your life about your diagnosis. They may have suggestions about how it affects specific situations you face and how to best deal with them.

For additional information, see:

Share your emotions. Seek someone to talk with who is going through the same thing you are. Consider joining a support group.

Let the people closest to you know when you are experiencing stress and fear. Talking helps. Your emotions may be all over the place due to the stress of dealing with the issues at hand as well as the unknown. 

Do what you can to relieve the stress. For example:

  • Define your fears. If you define your fears specifically, you can come up with solutions to each of them so that so you don't feel so powerless and overwhelmed by them.
  • For now, eat foods that are comfort food for you, even if they are not the healthiest.
  • Start doing things to make you feel in control or that help you feel centered. For instance, think of a small project you can start and finish quickly.

Waiting for test results can be agonizing. There are time tested ideas that can help you get through this period. For instance, keep busy. Take advantage of your support systems. If you need help sleeping, get it. Use relaxation techniques. Exercise.

Seek out someone who is going through the same thing you are. No one understands what you are going through as much as a person in a similar situation. If you don't know anyone, you can find a connection through your HIV specialist, friends, a local AIDS Service Organization, or the internet.

Consider joining a support group for the practical information as well as support.

For information, see:

Start examining your insurance and financial situation to determine how to pay for medical care and drugs or access them for free if you don't have the resources. If you don't have health coverage, get it. You still can.

If you have health insurance:

  • Do whatever is necessary to keep it. Health insurance is vitally important.
  • Learn what your health insurance does and does not cover, whether you are restricted to a group of doctors or hospitals or have a broader choice, and what needs prior approval, if anything.
  • Learn how to maximize use of your health insurance.
  • Keep in mind: if you don't get what you want from your insurer you should look for a source of influence that can help. (For example, the person in HR who negotiated the company's contract, or a caring case manager at the insurer). If you don't have such a source, or if it doesn't work: appeal - and appeal again. Be persistent. If appeals don't work, think about pressure you can apply on the insurer - such as through the state Insurance Commission or through the press. 

If you don't have health insurance:

  • There are still ways to access health care. Keep in mind that all medical bills are negotiable. 
  • There are a variety of ways to obtain health insurance even after a diagnosis.

If you have too many assets or income to qualify for Medicaid (Medi-cal in California), it may still be possible to qualify. 

You may be able to qualify for free drugs under your state's ADAP program.

If you have to pay for your care, consider traveling outside the U.S. for good quality care at a lower price. This is known as "Medical Tourism."


  • Experience indicates that people who take the attitude "I'm going to die, so I'm going to blow through all my money now," generally live to regret it. Even with the most dire diagnosis, someone survives.
  • If finances of any type are an issue, Survivorship A to Z provides financial planning information that will help you maximize your resources. We also have tips for dealing with a financial crunch. 

For information see: 

Pay attention to your financial basics such as paying your rent on mortgage on time. Keep track of medical expenses. They may be deductible.

Whether you pay your rent, mortgage and credit cards on time affects your credit rating. In turn, your credit rating will determine how much money you can borrow and at what price if you need money. You may need money to pay for your medical expenses or to keep your lifestyle. Credit rating also impacts areas of life such as automobile insurance premiums. Do what you can to protect and improve it.

Do not let any insurance policy lapse for non-payment. The last thing you need at this point is a large economic loss that could have been insured against.

When you keep track of medical expenses, include the cost of getting to and from doctors. Medical expenses may be deductible for tax purposes.

Keep track of medical expenses. Include the cost of getting to and from doctors. Medical expenses may be deductible for tax purposes.

  • If you pay the bills, you'll want to know what services were received so you can easily review the bills and notices you receive.
  • If an insurer pays the bills, it is important to keep track so the insurer doesn't pay for services not received. Saving the insurer money ultimately saves you money.
  • Medical bills may be deductible from your Adjusted Gross Income for income tax purposes. If a family member or friend pays medical bills for you, they may be deductible for the person who pays the bills. 

Don't pay a medical bill just because you receive it. Many health care providers send insureds bills even if the amount is covered by insurance. Check the bill to be sure:

  • That the service was received AND
  • That you owe it instead of the insurance company. 
  • If you owe a bill, you can likely negotiate the amount due.

Tell your personal lawyer, accountant and financial adviser about your health condition.. The more they know about you, the more they can help.

For information, see:

Don't go on a spending spree.

HIV is no longer the death sentence it used to be. Instead, when properly treated, HIV is more like a chronic illness.

People who were diagnosed when the first HIV test went public are still alive today.

If the stress is so great that you need time away, take a vacation. But make sure the trip is one that you can afford. This is not a time to go into debt, or further into debt. In fact, it is important to start building your credit in case you need cash for medical or other expenses. For information, see: Credit: Score, Getting, Fixing, Maximizing Use

If you work, learn about your legal rights and benefits, consider who to tell or not, negotiate an accommodation if you need one. Look for an advisor. If you are unable to work, learn how to apply for SSDI/SSI.

You are protected under such laws as the Americans With Disabilities Act due to your HIV diagnosis. This means that among other protections, you cannot be discriminated against because of your HIV status.

It also means that if you tell your employer, the information is confidential. (There is no similar protection for what you tell co-workers).

You are also entitled to a reasonable accommodation if needed to help you do your work. Survivorship A to Z helps you determine what is reasonable, and how to negotiate for it. NOTE: You are not entitled to an accommodation unless you tell your employer about your condition. (See the documents in “To Learn More.”)

If the employer you work for is large enough, you may be entitled to time off work under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Your employer likely provides benefits such as sick leave and vacation pay.

It helps to look for an advisor who can help you navigate through your work situation.

On the other hand, if you are unable to work, you may be entitled to a benefit from your employer or from the government’s Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Do not apply for SSDI or SSI before reading our information about how to apply to provide the best chance of getting an approval. (Only 1/3rd of applicants for SSDI are approved).

For information, see:

Start getting your legal affairs in order - not because you're going to die from HIV but because the diagnosis can be a trigger to action. It will help you feel in control and help keep you busy.

Everyone should have a Will. Yes – everyone. Wills are not expensive. You can even write one yourself.

Everyone should also have documents known as Advance Directives (or Advance Care Directives). These documents describe what medical treatments you do or do not want if you become unable to speak for yourself. The two most important documents to consider are a Living Will which states what you do or do not want in a general manner, and a Health Care Power Of Attorney. This document appoints someone to make decisions for you in the gray areas not covered under a Living Will. It also gives that person power to enforce your wishes.

While you are thinking about this subject, consider:

  • Writing an Ethical Will which passes on what you’ve learned to the next generation
  • Pre-planning your funeral arrangements. We are not suggesting that you pre-pay. Pre-planning saves money and unnecessary stress at a very stressful time.

For information, see:

Learn about the HIV resources in your community.

Sources on the internet which provide lists of AIDS Service Organizations include:

For a list of other services available for people with HIV in your area,, see the U.S government website: offsite link

Drugs do not work in a vacuum. Start to think of the food you eat, the exercise you get, rest/sleep and even proper care of your mouth as steps you can take to make drugs and treatments most effective.

Proper food, exercise and rest can help get your body into its best fighting condition. Dental health also counts. (Mounting evidence indicates that poor oral care can worsen serious medical problems).

This may be a time when you want to reach for what you think of as your comfort foods - the foods that make you feel better when you're down. If that's what you need to help get you through this period, then go for it. Once you've made a decision about which treatment  to take, keep your comfort foods for once in a while (say once a week). The goal is to eliminate unhealthy foods, or keep them to a bare minimum.

Remember, having a pet of any kind can help with both emotional and physical health.

For information, see:

Although a major source of transmission of HIV is through bodily contact, you can still be physically intimate with people. Learn how to avoid transmitting HIV to other people.

You may not want to date or have sex with your spouse or significant other after learning you are HIV positive. However, physical intimacy is important to our well being.

When you are ready, you can have sex in a manner that does not put your partner at risk, or which minimizes the risk. Rather than think in terms of black and white (safe/unsafe), think in terms of more or less risk. Our document on HIV transmission shows you how.

If you are in a couple, your becoming HIV positive may place major stress on the relationship. If the relationship becomes difficult, consider couples counseling at your local AIDS Service Organization offsite link and/or joining a support group with other couples.

It is worth keeping in mind that in some states knowingly transmitting HIV disease can be subject to criminal penalties.At the least, you may be subject to civil liability, including money damages.

If you have difficulty, consider speaking with a mental health professional such as a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist. It may also help to join a support group whre you will likely learn a good deal of practical information in addition to receiving emotional support..

For information see:

If you have a pet, learn what you need to know to keep both of you healthy.

Pets can be good for your emotional and physical health.

If you already have a pet, it is advisable to:

  • Set up a system with family and/or friends to take care of your pet if you can't for a while.
  • Learn how to avoid getting infections from your pet. For example, ask someone else to change cat litter.

If you do not have a pet, consider getting one. A pet does not have to be a dog or a cat ro prove you benefits. (If your building does not allow pets, you may still be able to get one as an accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act.)

For information, including how to choose a pet and how to live with one after a diganosis, click here.

NOTE: The "H" in HIV stands for human. HIV cannot be transmitted to or from a pet. This includes if a dog or cat causes you to bleed and licks the blood or the pet licks sweat form your body. 

Watch for mental conditions that affect your life. Depression, anxiety and other emotional side effects, can be treated.

HIV/AIDS is frequently accompaid by depression, other mental conditions, and side effects. Each are treatable- even pain.

It is advisable to learn about the signs accompaning each situation. For example, one sign indicating depression is being in a funk for an extended period of time or not being interested in activities you love.. If you get stuck in a down mode:

  • Tell your HIV specialist or your primary care doctor. He or she may prescribe anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications. 
  • Consider seeking professional counseling such as a Consultation-Liaison Psychiatrist (a psychiatrist who specializes in helping people with life changing conditions), a psychologist or a social worker. Counseling is for anyone who wants to sort out what they're feeling. Counseling is usually done in person. If that is not possible, you can arrange for therapy on the telephone, or even on line. If your insurance doesn't pay for counseling, many therapists work on a sliding scale and charge according to your means. 

For information, see the following: