Giving a positive HIV result
EARLY diagnosis of HIV infection allows for timely monitoring and treatment which may offer benefit in the long term and in the prognosis of HIV infection. A known infection gives both doctor and patient the opportunity for positive interventions such as timely prophylaxis, safe sex measures, contact tracing, education and support.
An HIV diagnosis is an emotive event for the patient, and the doctor should be prepared for a variety of responses. The patient may not retain large amounts of information initially and timely follow-up is essential.
HIV results should be given in person. Ensure a private space, which allows for confidentiality with no interruptions. Confirm that the patient understands their right to privacy and confidentiality, and understands the result. Listen and respond to the patients’ needs and concerns.