Receiving a new HIV diagnosis can be distressing. Everyone reacts to the diagnosis in their own way. Staff at Meridian can support you with this new diagnosis and meet you where you are at with your journey.
Meridian’s Genesis program is an information sharing program for gay and bisexual men who have just received an HIV diagnosis, or who feel ready to start talking about it.
Genesis provides an opportunity to meet and learn from other people living with HIV in a safe, confidential, and supportive environment.
Genesis gives people the opportunity to:
- Understand the impact of HIV on your health, sex life and relationships
- Work out who to tell about your status and when to tell them
- Take charge of your own health care
- Understand how HIV and treatments work
A series of one-on-one sessions (1.5 hours each) with another HIV positive person. These topics can be done in order, or the conversation can range freely across them:
Session 1: HIV and Treatments
A presentation that will help you to understand HIV and it’s lifecycle. Provides an update on the latest in HIV therapy treatments, the classifications of drugs, and discussion about side effects.
Session 2: Sexual Pleasure and Risk
Negotiating how to get the most out of your sex life as a positive person, understanding safer sex and STIs. How to confidently approach sex, dating and relationships.
Session 3: Disclosure
Legal issues around disclosing HIV status in various circumstances. Discuss ideas on how and when to talk about HIV in personal situations.
Session 4: Stigma and Resilience
Recognising that stigma exists, and strategies to reduce its impact on your life. Developing ways to manage negative attitudes and behaviours from others.
Session 5: Living Positive
HIV and You – looking to the future of living a long healthy life with HIV. Tapping in to supports and services available to you. Meet other HIV positive people.
For more information about Genesis, call (02) 6257 2855 and ask to speak to one of our Peer Support officers.
Your loved ones can be your greatest supports when processing an HIV diagnosis. However, sometimes you may need a support person outside of your personal life. Meridian offers professional and free counselling for people living with HIV.
Disclosing your HIV status can be a challenge when deciding who you should tell and when. While it’s challenging, telling a few people can be freeing and help you to build stronger relationships. For more information about deciding to disclose, visit hivnextsteps.org.au.
Choosing a Doctor
If you’ve tested positive for HIV, it’s important to develop a good relationship with a doctor. If you don’t feel comfortable discussing your HIV status with your regular doctor, or if they don’t have expertise in HIV, you may want to change to an HIV specialist. You can ask for a referral to another doctor who is specialised in HIV medicine. Meridian can provide you with a list of doctors and practices in Canberra and surrounding regions who specialise in HIV medicine.
HIV treatment has greatly improved since the beginning of the HIV epidemic, and it continues to improve today. Studies confirm that starting HIV treatment early has many benefits. There are a variety of effective treatments available that are easy to take and will improve your overall health and wellbeing. Taking treatment is a personal decision, to discuss this further you can call (02) 6257 2855 and ask to speak to one of our Peer Support officers.