One of the things that make HIV so difficult to control as a virus is that people are afraid to test. This means lots of people are spreading the virus without knowing. Sure it is scary to take that test. But sometimes courage is more important than hiding away.
Why are people scared of testing?
- You can’t tell when someone is positive. Secretly they fear they are positive and don’t want to find out. This anxiety is true of any illness, but you wouldn’t ignore a more visible illness.
- There are a lot of myths around HIV. Some people are even scared of testing and feel they can be ‘tricked’ into contracting it.
- People still see Aids as a death sentence. This is not true but it makes people very scared of a positive result. HIV is a manageable condition with ARV medication.
- You are terrified that you may have infected others
- It’s transmitted through sex which makes it seem so much more shameful
- Having sex is (mostly) a choice. Meaning a lot of people tend to believe that if you’re positive you “chose” or “deserve” it.
Fear is stronger in people who have not been tested, or those who’ve gone for the prick but for did not return for their results.
HIV is not a death sentence if you test and treat it. With a healthy lifestyle and ARVs (medication for HIV) you can live a long life. When you feel ready, talk to someone you trust who can give you support like a family member, friend, counsellor, doctor or traditional healer.