Medical school offers help for individuals who have HIV/AIDS

Receiving an HIV-positive diagnosis is always scary, but it can be especially difficult for teenagers and young adults.

The New Jersey AIDS/HIV/STD Hotline offers help to anyone, including teens and young adults infected with HIV, by getting them connected to a “navigator” who helps them get the care they need, according to a press release.

Being HIV-positive is not the “death sentence” it once was, according to the New Jersey Medical School at Rutgers University and the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System. With a healthy lifestyle and the right medical care, many HIV-positive individuals are living long, productive lives.

Following the right treatment regimen and continuing regular visits with doctors can keep the virus under control, according to a press release. By not getting treatment, skipping drug doses or adjusting treatment medications without consulting a doctor, infected teens and young adults run the risk of not only increasing the amount of HIV in their blood, but also developing resistance to their current HIV medications, according to the press release.

Teens and young adults who are HIVpositive and no longer receiving treatment can call 800-624-2377, text/email 8006242377@njpies.org or chat via www.njhivstdline.org to be connected with the HIV/AIDS Navigator Project.

Those who have a positive test result and need to find a site for a follow-up; those with questions or concerns regarding STDs, HIV or hepatitis; or those in need of information about linkage to HIV treatment may contact the HIV/AIDS Navigator Project, as well.

Operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Calls are free and confidential.