There was a time that HIV testing was a lengthy or expensive process, but improvements in tests and their availability means that reliable testing is available in person or by post with almost instant results. Pin prick and saliva tests can give you results within 15 minutes of arriving at a clinic.
But many people are still wary of taking an HIV test for a vast number of reasons. They may think there is a stigma to simply taking the test or that their friends or family will find out they have taken the test and judge them for that. Others worry that the results will finally reveal the positive diagnosis that they have been worrying about.
The truth is that taking a test can be worrying and that even those of us who are certain we have not been exposed to the virus may feel a little nervous before taking the test. But having the test done is liberating for so many reasons.
It can lift any nagging doubt in your mind about your status, it can reassure your partner and it can give you the certainty that allows you to get on with your life. It means that those with a positive diagnosis can get the health care they need and ensure that they keep those around them safe too. Being tested is a gift to yourself, to your lover and to any future lovers too.
The worry alone can make someone who thinks they may have been exposed to HIV become ill. But not being treated in a timely fashion can be disastrous, leaving your health to deteriorate to a point where your HIV may not be manageable. This happened to a close friend of mine, who has been the inspiration for the founding of the raTrust. I want to make sure that it does not happen to anyone else.
Testing remains confidential and no one but you and medical professionals will know the outcome. There will also be people available at the clinic to help you come through any bad news.
So, show some love to yourself and those around you. Get tested. If you need to know more about going for a test in person then contact us and we can help.
Take a friend with you for support. And if you can’t find someone to go with you then maybe we can. Stay safe.
Dominika Rejmer – Director and founder, The raTrust.