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Mpho - testing meant that I could start treatment and now I am undetectable!

Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply health status or behaviour.

Hmm, where do I start? I am a sexually active guy, but I never thought I would get HIV. I always made sure I used condoms and tested regularly, I even remember a nurse asking why am I testing so often. I giggled and said it’s a routine, I do it automatically.

My friends introduced me to this nude bar around my area, and wow, good looking guys everywhere! My friends warned me that I should use a condom if I have sex with stranger. But excitement took over and bam! I had unprotected sex. A while later I started getting a lot of fevers and colds, but it never struck me that I could be HIV-positive.

My body started changing, I became fat, but thought it was only my depression tablets, which I stopped taking in the end. Before long I was getting tired all the time, a five minute walk would give me sweats all over.

Then, at work they had a 'wellness day'. It dawned on me that I hadn't tested for almost 3 years. I walked tall into the testing room. The nurse was nice and gave me counselling, everything was fine so far. Then, I tested positive, and the numbness crept in. The first thing I thought was: “Will my colleagues see the expression on my face?”

I sat by the corner for about 15 minutes, I was stressed, not because I was positive but because I was worried about how my aunt would take it. How am I going to cope! I decided to call her, I told her my result and she took it well. She was supportive. I was actually excited. The courage to tell my guardian gave me strength to say: “What the heck, life goes on!”

I immediately started my treatment, and boy I have to tell you, I never experienced any sort of setback and have never been sick - and now I am even undetectable.

Opening up to someone close to you doesn't only bring you relief it invites them to assist you with the treatment, especially for us young guys with busy lives - one day you take your meds and the other day you forget. Having someone to nag and remind you, is just what you need. Do not keep your status to yourself, it will only end up causing you stress. Talk about it, it helps.

HIV treatment is now so effective that if you take it properly, you may never feel ill. People with HIV can live as long as everyone else and be just as healthy. So don’t let the fear of being sick put you off getting a test, it is much better to know your status and start treatment early so you can keep being you, without feeling unwell. See our page to learn more about HIV testing.

Personal Stories Disclaimer: These personal stories have been submitted to us anonymously by individuals who use our site. Some of the stories have been edited for clarity purposes. Some names have been changed to protect identities.

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Last updated: 26 September 2019