HIV Counselling and Testing
Every sexually active South African is at risk of contracting HIV, because the disease is so prevalent in our country. We all have a duty to know our status. If you know your status, you can protect your partner. If you know your status, you can receive treatment.
Brothers for Life calls on all men to test regularly, so that they can take control of their health and care for their partners.
An HIV test is called HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT).
What happens when you go for an HCT Test:
A health care worker will give you counselling, and tell you everything you need to know about how the test is done. You can then decide if you still want to go ahead with the test or not.
For the test, the healthcare worker will prick your finger, squeeze out a drop of blood, and place the blood onto a test strip. You get the results in about 20-30 minutes.
After you get your results, you will be given post-test counselling. If you are positive, the healthcare worker will refer you to your local hospital for treatment.
If you test negative you will be given advice on how to make sure you remain negative. The healthcare provider will ask you to come back after three months, because there is a 'window period' when you have been exposed to HIV but your immune system has not produced any antibodies and so the test cannot pick up if you are positive. To stay negative, use a condom correctly whenever you have sex, and go for medical circumcision.
Some people don't want to go to their local clinic for an HCT test because they don't want people to gossip about them. There are many organisations that offer HCT in the community and even in peoples' homes. See here for the list.
It is better to know your status and take treatment than to be ignorant and risk spreading the disease. Don't put your health and that of your loved ones at risk. Yenzakahle!