HIVhomegirl tested HIV-positive when she was 19 years old. She didn't know she had been born with it until she became sick and a doctor suggested she get tested. This is her story.
Before my diagnosis I hadn’t thought too much about HIV, to me it was something that happened to other people. I thought it was a myth we were told just to scare us from having wild sex. And for the most part it worked.
It was only after my diagnosis that I became more aware of the realities of HIV. I had contracted HIV after only one sexual partner. But the story doesn’t end there. It later turned out he was actually HIV negative. After much research, I believe that I had contracted the virus from my mother at birth.
When I was diagnosed, I had AIDS and a CD4 count of 10. But I could hide my status. When I started university I realised how easy it was to hide and I could see that if I had managed to go undetected by my peers, many others could be HIV positive and hiding it too.
Somehow, despite the many HIV campaigns, talks and images that seemed to take up a lot of public space, the message got lost in translation. Young people still have risky sex. They see HIV as a “gay” or “poor” disease. It is as if they were immune to contracting it.
No matter how treatable HIV seems in the 21st Century, with ARV treatment and living and eating healthily - it is still a very serious virus. It is not easy living with HIV and it often results in multiple hospital visits and uncomfortable pillow talk conversations.
I am also a reminder that no matter how good someone looks, you never know if they are safe until they’ve been tested.
Whether you live in a shack or mansion - HIV doesn’t care. If you don’t protect yourself, it can get you just like everyone else. People who get HIV can stay healthy for many years and many infected people do not even know that they are HIV positive.
How long can HIVhomegirl hide her status? Find out in her next blog.
To find out how HIVhomegirl got to this point click on the link below to start her story from the beginning ...