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WORLD AIDS DAY - Test and know your status

By Faeza
30 November 2016

MANY people fear going for HIV testing. You often hear people say, “I would rather not know.” The reason for this is for far too long being HIV positive has been associated with homosexuality, promiscuity, filth and a painful death. This has led to many people choosing to remain silent about their status and not face their fears. However, in this day and age, going for HIV testing should be an easy thing to do. Test and know

TESTING FOR HIV

Unlike when I tested positive in 1996, so much has changed for the better. Firstly, when I was called to be told that I was HIV positive, there was no pre or post-counselling offered to me. These days there is someone to prepare you for the test through precounselling. During the pre-counselling session, you will be prepared as to what to expect and you will

learn how to interpret the results. Once it is seen that you are adequately prepared for the test, then the test will be conducted. After the test, you will have another session to ensure you are okay after receiving the results. Even if you test positive, you will be given advice on what to do.

HIV IS NO LONGER A DEATH SENTENCE

Another positive thing about testing these days is the fact that HIV is no longer a death sentence. There is help in ARVs, counselling and support groups to ensure you don’t fall or crumble from the news. You can also draw strength from those who are living openly with HIV for many years as you build your strength after testing positive. Even though my journey wasn’t that smooth due to the way I was diagnosed, 21 years later I am standing

tall having lived with HIV for that long.

KNOWING YOUR STATUS

The good thing about knowing your status is that it will lead to you changing your sexual behavior and lifestyle. Also if you test positive, you can access prophylaxis, a treatment which will help to strengthen your immune system until you start taking ARVs. Testing positive for HIV is not a death sentence and with counselling and a positive outlook, you can a live positive life. This will however mean you will have to use protection

everytime you engage in sexual intercourse or abstain. So, friends, let’s go for HIV testing so that we can better take care of our health and be in charge of our lives.