For around R200-00 or less, HIV self-testing kits are now readily available online or from most pharmacies around the country. This makes testing more convenient and accessible, which is vital because there are currently still more than 14 million people who are HIV-positive, that don’t yet know it.
Only 90% of all people living with HIV have been tested and know that they are HIV-positive. The other 30% still don’t.
The United Nations hopes to meet a target that sees a world in which 90% of all people living with HIV have been tested by the year 2020. This is a massive deal because most people who are responsible for the transmission of HIV do not know that they are positive.
Now, if you can afford it, you can order a test kit online to be delivered to your door, or pop into a pharmacy and buy yourself a kit and take it home to test yourself when it suits you, which makes it much easier for those who are afraid of going to a doctor or a clinic. It’s easy, discreet and you’ll be the first to know. It just requires a quick, painless pinprick on your finger, and you’ll have your results in less than 20 minutes. There are some challenges to using a self-testing kit though before you go out and buy one.
At a doctor or clinic, you have access to counselling and other supportive information, which you may not have access to alone at home after doing your test. If you do test positive, they will be able to begin your treatment immediately. Some people find getting their results very traumatizing, and this can be made more difficult if you don’t have the right support and resources in place. Testing positive is not life-threatening anymore if you get treatment.
If you do want to test yourself, by yourself, make sure that there is someone that you can reach out to and discuss your status with after you’ve tested yourself. We repeat: HIV is very well treated these days, and even if you are HIV-positive, there is no reason that you shouldn’t continue to have a long, happy and healthy life if you get the treatment that you need.
If you test yourself and discover that you are HIV-positive, you can always go to a free Health4Men Clinic near you to find out more about what steps to take to take good care of yourself and your future.
You do what’s best for you!
If you have bought a kit and tested yourself and now need to talk to someone about it, you can also call The National HIV and AIDS Helpline (0800-012-322).