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If you're living with HIV

Getting support from loved ones
(family, friends, partners) can make
a big difference in your life.

Studies have shown that people who disclose their HIV status to family members respond better to treatment than those who don't.

Telling someone who cares about you that you're HIV-positive can be very hard to do, and it's a personal decision. You can get advice about it from an ASO team member.

Remember that people you tell may have different reactions, and it can be hard for them to understand and accept at first. But you'd be surprised at how supportive some people can be.

Look for a
peer counselor

A peer counselor is someone who is HIV-positive and really knows what you're going through. You can sometimes find them at ASOs or in community groups. Ask your ASO professional to help you find one.

Tell, then Teach

It helps to have HIV information available when you tell someone you're HIV-positive—they'll probably have a lot of questions. You can help them find some answers by taking them through this site, especially the About HIV section, or by downloading this brochure.

If you're helping
someone with HIV

finding Support for you

Check in with an ASO in your area and see if they have a support group for caregivers. They'll also help you find emotional support and counseling, and programs that can connect you to other resources like food and housing. Look for support closer to home, too. Maybe there's a relative or friend who'd like to help out.

know Yourself

Helping someone with HIV can be rewarding, but very stressful, too. Aside from giving emotional support, you may be helping with bills and figuring out how to work through the medical system. Know your own limits and when to take time for yourself.

know HIV facts

It's really important for you and your loved one or friend to know as much as possible about HIV/AIDS—like what HIV is and how treatment can help stop it from getting worse. It's a big responsibility, but you'll see the difference you make. Learn the basics of HIV here.

Find the experts

Finding out that someone you care about has HIV can be very hard for you both. That's why you need to find expert support as early as possible. Use our healthcare provider and ASO locator.

Find HIV resources in your area.

6 tips for family & friends

  • 1. Positivity!

    Help motivate your loved one/friend with HIV by reminding them they can live a healthy life by taking care of themselves.

  • 2. HIV Treatment

    To help make sure your loved one/friend lives a long, healthy life, one of the best things you can do is to help them start and stay on treatment. Treatment is now recommended for anyone with HIV, even if their CD4+ T-cell count is considered normal.

  • 3. Stability

    If you see that your loved one/friend has an unstable lifestyle—doesn't have a place to stay, doesn't eat or sleep regularly—talk to your ASO professional. Having stability helps with keeping appointments and staying on medication.

  • 4. Set up a special folder or envelope

    Help your loved one/friend put all their medical information in one place and keep it safe. (Make a copy of everything if you can in case it gets lost.) If they can put the information on a computer and print it out for appointments, that's even better.

  • 5. Appointment schedule

    Make sure your loved one/friend has a calendar to mark down any appointments with healthcare providers and ASO professionals. It's especially important for them to go for their lab tests, usually every 3–6 months.

  • 6. HIV medication schedule

    When a loved one/friend is on medicine to treat HIV, they have to take that medication exactly as the healthcare provider told them to. Help them set up reminders for themselves. Get a pill holder with days of the week so they can see right away if they took their medicines for the day. And if they're having a hard time staying on their medication, encourage them to tell their healthcare provider right away.