Everyone responds to an HIV diagnosis differently – there is no right or wrong way to handle the news. It’s important to remember that treatments for HIV have improved enormously in recent times. Many people living with HIV are only taking one or two pills a day, and manage to keep the long term health impacts of HIV to a minimum.
You can contact the NZAF if you have any questions or need to talk to someone. There are a number of peer support organisations out there too such as The Institute of Many (TIM), Body Positive, Maori, Indigenous & South Pacific & HIV AIDS Foundation (INA) and Positive Women.
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, partner(s) and whānau. Counsellors are all trained, professionally qualified specialists. You can talk to them about anything that has come up for you around HIV – from relationship issues to grief, anxiety, financial or work-related issues.
If you live in Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington make an appointment with an HIV counsellor using this form (this form books both HIV testing and counselling, so fill in your details and the counselling option will become available). If you live outside those areas call NZAF on 0800 802 437, and they will connect you with the HIV counselling service closest to you.
The NZAF and Body Positive run peer support groups for people living with HIV. These provide a place for people who are HIV positive to meet, share stories and support one another in a safe and confidential environment.
If you are interested in participating in a peer support group get in touch on one of the phone numbers below.
Auckland (09) 309 5560
Wellington (04) 381 6640
Christchurch (03) 379 1953
0800 448 5463
Body Positive is a group founded by and run for people living with HIV/AIDs in New Zealand. Their services include counselling, free rapid HIV testing, massage therapy, budgeting services and support groups for younger and recently diagnosed people. Find out more about Body Positive support services.
There are around 30 HIV specialists located around the country – all based at public hospitals. GPs can’t initiate treatment but they can continue prescribing treatment once a specialist has initiated it. It’s up to you how much you want to involve your GP in your treatment, but as with any life-long condition, your GP needs to be aware of your HIV status. If are not comfortable discussing your diagnoses or sexuality with you GP, you should consider looking for a new practitioner, if that is an option. If you need support or information about GPs or HIV specialists, contact us.