In just a span of two years, two people I know died of HIV. They were too shy to admit that they contacted the virus. They were too stubborn to get the HIV/Aids test. They were sexually active. They did not use protection.
I was broken.
They were too young and died too soon. Plus they left their family behind, they were breadwinners.
I was broken.
Because of the fact that I am part of an advocacy group who raises awareness on HIV/Aids yet I was not able to help them be more aware, make them take the test. It could have saved their lives. I felt I was a failure.
I also felt I was cheating on the group I am part of and so I finally got tested for the first time.
Before getting the test I was asked a couple of personal questions.
- How many partners have you had since you started exploring your sexuality?
- How often do you engage sex?
- When was the last time you did it?
- Did you use protection?
- How long ago was the last time?
To tell you honestly I was a bit embarrassed about answering such very intimate questions. But since I was talking to a professional who needs those info to make a better understanding of my situation, I have to answer as a matter of factly as possible. I was not worried he will tell my history to everyone, as a professional, people working for and with Aids Society of the Philippines (ASP) are professional and emphatic. And yes it is okay to talk about your sexual activity to a professional the way you talk about it with your friends. They’re the more learned people to talk about especially if you have “concerns”.
The HIV test was really quick and painless. It was much more like the pregnancy test kit available over-the-counter. The only difference was they need blood samples to show the result. I got pricked with a needle where she took few drops of blood samples from my punctured wound were taken. I was advised that it will take 15 minutes to get the result. Just 15 minutes!
There are only two results you can anticipate, it is either you are HIV reactive and HIV negative.
HIV reactive means HIV antibodies were found in your blood or oral fluid sample. Anyone whose result is reactive to a rapid HIV test must have a second (or confirmatory) test done. This is a more accurate test, and it is done to confirm, or check, the results of the rapid test. It takes longer to get the result of this second test, sometimes as long as two weeks.
If they said you are HIV negative, this means you are not infected with HIV and all your previous partners before getting tested are clean as well!
Two pink lines on the test kit will mean positive and one line means negative.
During the waiting time, thoughts were running through my head. “What do I do if I was tested positive? How do I tell this to my family? How can I tell this to the last person I had sex with? Should I tell the world about it? What’s next for me? What is life after HIV? Should I even live!
Worry rat. I can be really morbid at times. To my relief, my result came negative. I was glad to know that for my sanity. You see, at the back of my mind, I had doubts about the past men in my life. I wasn’t sure if I was the only girl during our time in their life. They are all good looking and eligible, they all have desireable statuses, any girl could fall for them. I did! But hey I am not that active as I thought I was. I don’t have sex with every guy I meet, that’s for sure. The ASP person who did my test said there are others who do almost every day with different partners and they don’t use condoms!
That’s the clincher. Most of the time I don’t because I feel confident somehow with my partner that they are clean. But most of the time those who get infected with HIV had sex without protection once and that once was enough to get them infected!
So yes, I say, if you engage and is active, just always use protection because you can never tell!
If still in doubt get your future partner tested before you do it. I don’t think there is nothing wrong in asking or talking about it especially if you had the test and you are clean. Talk about it. If you can talk about getting dirty and the things you do in bed with another person then I think it is okay to talk about his or her test result for your safety.
Getting a test is FREE so there is no excuse to not doing it.
The test is painless and it only takes 15 minutes of your so-called busy time!
You local health center have this test but if you are too embarrassed to let your neighborhood health people know about this let me know. I can refer you to the person who did my test.
It’s okay to talk about your sex. It’s Okay to have sex as often as you want. It’s okay,
What we encourage at the Red Whistle and the ASP is that everyone who has an active sex life to get tested. If found positive don’t worry. Treatment and support are free. You don’t have to worry financially about medication and treatment. We will be there to support you all the way.
While HIV is not curable it is manageable, as long as detected early.
I know some people who have HIV for awhile but they are looking really good and well.
If you get tested in an expensive testing center and you are found positive of HIV you can get a reimbursement of all your hospital expenses and medical bills from ASP. You just need that confirmation letter as mentioned above if found HIV reactive.
People with HIV get PWD card btw, that gives them privileges of PWDs.
I know it is not something to be proud of but it is not to be ashamed of. You have the right to live and you asserted it. Now all you need is to become more responsible for your actions.
If you need or want to get tested? Let me know. #ItsOkayPh
#ItsOkayPh is an advocacy drive of Red Whistle on HIV Aids awareness in the country.