HIV Self-Test: The Journey.
I’d had a bout of diarrhoea in mid-February this year, and two weeks later I had a short but bad case of tonsilitis. I’d never had tonsilitis before. That was enough to get me worrying whenever I could make the time to between my semester at uni. Every rash, muscle ache and even the flu, ate at my mind and concerned me.
I hadn’t had unprotected anal or vaginal sex, but I’d had oral sex and although a much lower risk, it still worried me.
Fast forward to this weekend, I irrationally became afraid I might have contracted HIV and by yesterday morning (Wednesday the 3rd) I had convinced myself I was ill and all that was left to do was confirm.
I gathered the courage and called a sexual health clinic. The receptionist who answered wasn’t particularly soothing. I should say at this point that although I’ve been a hypochondriac in this case, I usually confront situations head on and don’t really seek comfort from others. The receptionist’s bored, (maybe judgemental?) attitude and questioning made me decide to test at home, know my status and then go to a clinic if need be.
I ordered a BioSure kit before 11am yesterday, selected standard delivery. I wasn’t willing to part with the extra £5.95 for ‘Guaranteed Next Day Delivery’. Fortunately my parcel arrived this afternoon before 3 pm and I opened it straight away and followed the instructions and tested.
After the 15 minutes, only the control line was visible, indicating a negative, and I was relieved. I’ve got to say that although 15 minutes is a brilliant amount of time to wait compared to 7-10 days of worry from most test centres, it seemed terribly long to me.
There are free testing options, but if you want a quick and affordable way of knowing compared to the frightening prices I’d seen for rapid HIV tests for some clinics, BioSure is the way to go.
It’s a huge step deciding to get tested, but it’s important to know your status. For me, I needed to know so I wouldn’t put anyone I live with at risk. Understanding that the test can go either way, finding out on your own first might be helpful to some and then planning a course of action after that is reasonable.
It’ s been a hell of an experience, but I can go forward relieved and confident.