What to expect when testing for HIV.
Are you thinking of going for an HIV test? Maybe you want to have sex for the first time, or you want to start doing it with a new bae. We all have the right to know about how our bodies work and how to keep them healthy.
I went for my first HIV test last year after I read an article that said girls between 15 and 24 are the highest risk of becoming HIV+.
Getting tested for the first time can be a scary thought. If it makes you feel better, you can ask someone you trust to accompany you when you are going for your test. Many clinics offer this service and it's your right to access it. All public clinics and hospitals in South Africa offer free HIV testing.
What was getting tested like? Like I said, it’s normal to feel nervous but a health worker will talk you through the service and offer support for different options. Remember you can always ask questions and arrange another appointment if you want to have some time to think of some questions. This is to help you understand how the test works and discuss any fears or questions you have.
Next comes the actual test. Your finger will be pricked with a needle to get blood. This will be put on stick test, then a solution is added to your blood sample. Results take less than 20 minutes.
Negative or positive, your tests results are followed by another counselling session. This gives you extra emotional support, and for the counsellor to have a conversation with you about safer sex and how to keep taking care of yourself.
One thing to remember is that HIV can take time to be found in your blood because sometimes it hides itself.
That is why you should wait 12 weeks to get tested after having unprotected sex.
You can get tested sooner but results are less accurate so you should have another test after 3 months to be sure.
Ready to get tested? Well done girl! When it comes to our sexual health, knowledge is power. And you have the right to know your HIV status.
There is absolutely nothing to fear whatever your results, there's good treatment so that living HIV+ can still mean a healthy and happy life.