Farha Foundation

Farha Foundation

March 10, 2016 11:07 ET

Farha Foundation Shares The First Steps Living Positive

What's next after an HIV+ diagnosis?

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - March 10, 2016) - The Farha Foundation, Quebec's leading HIV/AIDS fundraising organization, is sharing the first steps to living positive after an HIV diagnosis. With a new infection every three hours in Canada, the foundation is also urging everyone to get tested regularly. Receiving a positive diagnosis on an HIV/AIDS test can be an overwhelming and shocking event, but it is not the death sentence it once was, and with proper care and treatment many people go on to live long and healthy lives.

"Before anything else, give yourself time. Everyone is different but many people will go through a variety of emotions from shock to anger to sadness and you'll likely have many questions," said Linda Farha, volunteer president and spokesperson, Farha Foundation. "You or your loved one are on a life-long journey of living positive and the next few steps will help orient you for the future."

Connect with a healthcare professional

Find a health care provider you are comfortable with and one who you can be open and honest with. Once you have received you diagnosis try to find someone who specializes in HIV care. They will play a big role in helping you stay healthy and answering questions. You can visit the Farha Foundation website for a list of local AIDS service organizations (ASOs) in Quebec or visit HIV 411 to search for one across Canada. They are great resources to help you find the best health care options available as well as connect with a variety of support networks.

Share with your personal network

When you are ready, consider sharing you diagnosis with some people in your personal network that you trust most, such as a family member, close friend or partner. Ask yourself who are the people who need to know and whom do I want to know. Consider where and when you tell them. Pick a safe, comfortable place to talk and be prepared that their reactions may vary. Keep in mind that generally you are not obligated to tell people such as employers about you status. You do have a legal duty in Canada to share your status with those who engage in an activity with places that them at significant risk of HIV transmission, such as unprotected sex. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network explains this in detail in five languages:

Create a health and wellness plan

Speak with your health care professional to build a health and wellness plan tailored to your needs. This can include a discussion of your viral load; treatment options and what you can do to eat well, exercise and get the emotional support your need. Keeping your immune system in top shape should be your top priority. Your local ASO will be able to further help you build a support network and connect with a wider community for mentoring, tips or when you just need to talk to someone who is going through the same thing you are.

Protect the people around you

Find out how HIV is transmitted. Get to know the virus inside and out, and take precautions that match your lifestyle. For example, HIV can be transmitted by blood, semen, rectal and vaginal fluid and breast milk. To minimize potential transmission practice safe sex, don't share needles and talk to your doctor about medical options that help limit risks. This includes regular HIV testing; as approximately 25 percent of infected Canadians are unaware they carry the virus.

Above all remember you are not alone in this fight and with proper care and treatment HIV can be a manageable condition.

About the FARHA FOUNDATION

The Farha Foundation is Quebec's leading fundraising organization committed to helping men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS. The events organized by the Farha Foundation also serve to raise public awareness of the AIDS pandemic.

Since 1992, the Farha Foundation has distributed close to $9.5 million to 76 organizations throughout Quebec that provide services to HIV/AIDS victims (housing, medication, food, palliative care, homecare, etc.), as well as HIV/AIDS prevention and education programs. An advisory committee determines which organizations the Foundation supports and ensures that the funds are put to the best possible use. To find out more about the Farha Foundation, please visit farha.qc.ca.

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