HIVhomegirl tested HIV-positive when she was 19 years old. This is her story.
The night before I was due to get my HIV test results back I hardly slept. Why did the doctor need to tell me my results in person? What would I do if I was positive? How I would tell my friends? How I would explain it to my boyfriend? He had just tested negative. Or was he also positive, but not showing up yet as positive because of the three-month window period? Had he cheated on me? Did I maybe get it from someone else, a cut maybe, or a past injury?
I asked my mom to go with me. When we walked into the doctor's room the next day, I was weak and tired. My body was struggling with another bug that had given me flu-like symptoms the past few weeks. Now my mind raced … was this flu? Could this illness be HIV?
When the doctor said, "You're HIV positive," he was so firm and clear about it.
He told me that HIV is not a death sentence and that I was going to be okay. I don't remember much of the conversation but I remember that.
He told me that there was really good treatment that I had to start immediately. He gave me the name of a support group and made an appointment for me to speak to a counsellor. But first he wanted to run more tests and check my CD4 count and viral load.
I don't remember much of the conversation. I just remember crying and thinking he must have got it wrong. I had a future planned. I was scared, shocked and confused. I hadn't been sleeping around! I had only lost my virginity that year, at the age of 19!
My mom held my hand the whole visit. Walking out of the doctor's room I could feel people staring at me as if they knew. Was it that obvious?
HIVhomegirl has just been diagnosed as HIV positive. Her CD4 count will inform the doctor the next step to take. The higher your count the better able your body is to fight infections and HIV.
How low can it go? Find out more in the next blog.
To find out how HIVhomegirl got to this point click on the link below to start her story from the beginning ...