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HIV/AIDS...take the test

Positive Youth of Gauteng [P.Y.G.]

There are many reasons for wanting to know your status- here is some info about taking an HIV test and why it is important.

What is an HIV/AIDS test?
-it is a blood test to see if you have HIV, the virus that causes Aids.
The health worker takes some of your blood and tests it to see if there are HIV antibodies in your body.
If there are, the virus is there too. A blood test is the only way to be sure about your HIV status. It is important to speak to a counsellor before and after the test sothat you understand the implications of the outcome of the test, whether positive or negative.

Eish, I'm scared to go. What if anyone finds out?

-no one can force you to go for a test, but if you are sexually active it is you moral responsibility to know your status so you do not infect others, and you need to know for your own psychological and physical well-being.

Knowing is not dying- it is acting responsibly. Wise-up guys, we youngsters have a 50/50 chance of getting HIV- this is real!
You have a right to confidentiality, but if you test positive you also have a moral obligation to your sexual partner.

So, what does it mean to know my status?

If you know your HIV status is, it means you know whether or not you have the virus. If you have the virus, this is called being HIV+(HIV positive).

I'm too scared to know if I'm HIV+

-Yes, it is scary to get news you don't want to hear, but knowing for sure is the first step to dealing with it.
A counsellor can help you prepare for the test and talk to you about your results.
If you test HIV positive you will likely first have feelings like fear, anger and helplessness.

By talking to someone you trust, you can learn to accept that you have the virus, and that you can practice safe sex to avoid infecting others- or increasing your own viral load which will make you sicker sooner.
And also by keeping your immune system healthy; knowing when to seek treatment for opportunistic infections and understanding your Aids treatment options

If you test negative, that's reason to be relieved for now, but remember, if you do not protect yourself everytime you have sex, your odds of becoming HIV infected increase dramatically.

Why do I need to know my status?
There's nothing I can do...
-That's not true! If you know your status, there is a lot you can do.

eg.-If you are negative, you can stay negative by always protecting yourself(using a condom);
-If you are positive, you must always use a condom to protect your partner from infection, and yourself from re-infections, which could hasten the onset of Aids

-You can take measures to boost your immune system, like healthy eating and exercise, and early treatment for secondary infections;
-although there is no cure for HIV/Aids, drugs to treat Aids are becoming more available and can enable HIV positive individuals to live active lives for many years.

I'm HIV+, I may as well commit suicide...
It is hard, especially if you are scared to tell your friends and family.
Many people have wrong ideas about Aids, and you can feel very lonely.

Luckily, there are people who will understand and help you. If you do not have anyone to talk to, speak to a counsellor, join a support group or call thethajunction on 0800 121 900.

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