Helping Someone with HIV
Helping Someone with HIV


Getting support from people like you—family, friends, and partners—can make a big difference for someone living with HIV.

So it stands to reason that you could use support, too.

FOR YOU, too

Check in with the Community-Based Organizations (CBOs), sometimes referred to as AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs), in your area to see what they offer caregivers. These places can put you in touch with case managers who can help you find a support group, counseling, or programs that can connect you to other important resources. You can search locations at the bottom of this page. Look for support closer to home, too. Maybe there's a relative or friend who'd like to help out.


Helping someone with HIV can be rewarding, but sometimes stressful. In addition to giving emotional support, you may be helping them figure out how to guide themselves through the medical system. Know your own limits and when to take time for yourself.


It’s really important for you and your loved one or friend to know as much as you can about HIV/AIDS—like what HIV is and how treatment can help stop it from getting worse. It’s a big responsibility, but you'll see that you can make a difference.

Learn the basics of HIV here.


1. Motivation

Share stories of others who are thriving with HIV. Podcasts and this video series can be enlightening sources for people living with HIV. 

2. Undetectable* = Untransmittable

Learn about U = U! U = U stands for Undetectable = Untransmittable. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, people living with HIV who reach and stay undetectable by taking their HIV medication as prescribed prevent transmitting HIV through sex. First, talk to your doctor about further risks of sexual HIV transmission.

  • Achieving an undetectable viral load can take time. Taking HIV treatment as prescribed and getting to and staying undetectable for at least 6 months prevents transmitting HIV through sex. Viral load testing should be performed on a regular basis to confirm HIV remains at an undetectable level.
  • Regardless of status, condoms can help you lead a healthy sexual life. Unlike HIV treatment, condoms can prevent other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.

*Undetectable means the amount of HIV in the blood is below the level that can be measured in a lab test.

3. PrEP

PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and is a medication used to help reduce the risk of getting HIV. There are different options available that could work for you. Learn more about a PrEP option here

4. Treatment

To help make sure your loved one lives a healthy life, one of the best things you can do is to help them start and stay on treatment. Treatment is now recommended for anyone with HIV. Today, there are many different treatment options, including single daily pills containing fewer medicines and long-acting treatments. Learn more about HIV treatment options here

5. Set up a special folder, envelope, or digital file

Help your loved one store all their medical information in one place and keep it safe. (Make a copy of everything if you can, in case something gets lost.) If they can save the information on a computer or phone and access it during appointments, that's even better.

6.  Plan a healthy diet and exercise program

Exercise and a good diet can help offset some long-term effects that HIV and some HIV medicines can have on the body, such as osteoporosis and high cholesterol. Help your loved one with meal planning or be an exercise buddy.

7.  Doctor’s appointments

Make sure your loved one has a calendar to mark down any appointments with healthcare providers and case managers, many who are now offering virtual appointments. It's important, however, that lab tests are done, usually every 3 to 6 months.

8.  Treatment schedule

When a loved one is on HIV treatment, they have to take that medication exactly as their healthcare provider has instructed. For those who take oral medication, a pill holder with days of the week can be handy, so they can see right away if they took their meds for the day. And if they’re having a hard time staying on their medication, encourage them to tell their healthcare provider right away. For those who may take an injectable treatment at a doctor's office, help them set up appointment reminders for themselves.

9.  Online support options

There is a wealth of resources related to HIV online. Encourage loved ones to explore online support groups, and to make use of telehealth appointment options when possible. Remind them that there’s a team of people out there ready to help, and that they can talk to their doctor about any concerns.


Finding out that someone you care about has HIV can be very hard for you both. That’s why you need to find expert support as early as possible. Use our ASO locator below to find resources in your area.

Find HIV resources in your area.