Since I started this blog and my Twitter account a couple of months ago I have been inundated with messages, comments and tweets from people asking me questions about HIV, and whilst I’m by no means an expert I always endeavour to answer them to the best of my ability – and where I can’t I’ll refer them to one of the authoritative websites (like NAM, or THT). Some of the questions are from genuinely curious people, asking how it affects my day to day life, what treatment programme I’m on or how I’m coping with it – to name just a few.
Other questions I get asked, however, are far more worrying. Today, for example, I was asked in an email:
“How do I know if I have HIV? What are the symptoms?”.
The only way to tell whether you’re HIV+ (that means you have contracted the HIV virus) is to GET TESTED.
Yes it can be nerve-wracking going to get tested, we’ve all been there “Oh I’ll do it next week, next month, oh I’m busy then, I’ll do it next month” – putting it off and off, but all you’re doing is making it more difficult to eventually go and find out. Using modern ‘FasTEST’ testing kits you can have your results in as little as 15 minutes and no needles. Just a tiny prick on the finger and that’s it.
With early diagnosis and proper treatment you can live just as long and just as well as anyone else. I’ve received amazing care and support, both from the NHS and the THT, and I’m looking forward to living into my old age with some handsome man.
I urge everyone who reads this, who isn’t HIV+ or hasn’t been tested recently, GO AND GET TESTED THIS WEEK. Maybe you’re looking for an easy to do New Year’s Resolution? This one will take just 15 minutes of your time and could save your life, and save the lives of those you love and/or play with.
There are centres up and down the country, in big cities, little towns, gay centres, NHS centres, charity centres – you could even do it on your lunch break or on the way home from work. Use the THT Clinic Finder to find your nearest clinic and carry through on your new resolution.
Love and best wishes,