Get Tested Now!

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 7:22 AM

What's stopping you from taking the HIV Test?

1. "People will judge me!"

The HIV testing centers' staff are professional. They are trained to give out the test and not to judge anybody. Of course there will be some who would be judgemental, as the world is not perfect. But who cares? Take the test, get the result and leave the facility. You won't see them again anyways. 

Is it important what others will think of you? Will it kill you if others may judge (or even look at you)  as "dirty", "promiscuous", type cast you as gay or "MSM", etc. etc. 

What is important is what you think of yourself. You need to be in control of your health and that is the most important thing. You need to be in control of your life and others' perception of you doesn't matter, at all.

2. "What if the result is POSITIVE?"

It is better to know early on than be sorry. One, you can get treatment fast. Second, you won't regret later on that you have been a carrier without you knowing it and may have passed it to others.

Some people because of fear, gets tested late, which results to being sick from opportunistic infections or AIDS related illnesses. Because of their fear to know through the HIV test, they already have pneumonia, tuberculosis, meningitis, skin diseases, eye problems or gastro intestinal issues when they seek treatment. Some are already in their death beds before even taking the HIV test.

Denial is a killer. I, for one had unprotected sex before and didn't get tested until I was already bed ridden from bi-basal pneumonia plus pneumocystis pneumonia. I was already suffering, couldn't walk for more than 2 meters without catching my breath. I had continuous diarrhea and on and off fever for one month. Yet, I ignored these symptoms. I almost died, but I continued to deny it until my doctor told me that I needed to take the HIV test right there in my hospital room.

3. "If I am POSITIVE, I don't have money for treatment"

First, why even think of treatment when you can arrest the virus early on, when it has not destroyed your immune system yet? 

By taking an early HIV test and your result is positive, you can take the antiretroviral medicines fast which could attenuate the virus. By getting HIV tested early and your result is positive, your immune system can rebound fast that you won't have to succumb to opportunistic infections. 

If you get tested positive and your immune system is strong, you may only pay around P5,000 to P7.000 for your baseline tests in government HIV and AIDS Treatment hubs. Some hospitals even offer free baseline tests. PhilHealth can also be mobilized to cover most of your lab tests for the rest of your life while there is no cure yet. 

However, if you get tested positive late and you already have opportunistic infections, you will spend more because the lab tests and medications to treat these opportunistic infections are expensive. Some spend around P50,000 to P500,000 because of the severity of their opportunistic infections. I, for one, spent around P300,000 when I was hospitalized in The Medical City for only 10 days. 

So why wait then, when you are worried about the cost of treatment? Do it now. Get tested as soon as you feel and think that you may have been exposed to the virus. Trust me, you will save a lot of money!

Second, the antiretroviral medicines (ARV) are free here in the Philippines. Consultation fees in the government HIV and AIDS Treatment Hubs are also free. 

4. "Nobody will love me if I turn out to be POSITIVE"

A lot of people think that their families will not love them anymore once they become HIV positive. A lot think that they will be kicked out from their homes. A lot them that their families won't support them with their education because they are positive.

Though we have experienced some who have been evicted, some young people just left their homes because they assumed that they won't be loved anymore. Some didn't even give their families a chance to love them back during these times.

But please don't assume fast. Give your family the chance to understand you. Allow your family to love you back during the most important period of your life. 

Some people think that it would be hard to look for a life partner when diagnosed to be HIV positive. Absolutely not! We know a lot who are in a serodiscordant (a positive person and a negative person) relationship, and they are happy, even sexually. Rejection from friends upon knowing a person's HIV status is also a cause of fear. But love is not skin deep. It transcends beyond everything including HIV.

5. "I'll lose everything"

What are you going to lose?

Job? No way. It is against the law based on RA 8504 to get fired or be discriminated because of HIV. It is also against the law to even be required to take the HIV test prior to employment.

Education? Not in a million. You can get or continue your education even with HIV. No school prerequires the HIV test as this is also against the law.

Ability to travel? HIV is not a hindrance to traveling. No country will inspect your medical records if you want to travel for leisure. However, employment to middle east (or muslim countries for that matter) and Singapore restricts people from working in their countries. 

Relationships. A strong relationship based on real love and respect can't be destroyed by having HIV.

6. "Someone will recognize me"

Oh what the hell. Will the nurses shout out that you are getting an HIV test in their clinic? Will they announce it over the microphone? Will the nurses have a "conference" while you are taking the HIV test? Will those people who are waiting to be tested gossip about you when in fact they have the same fear that you will talk about them since you saw each other there?

Who cares? You are there to know your HIV status. You are there to be in control of your health and your life. 

We have encountered lots of people who have the same excuse. "What if someone will recognize me and tell it to the whole world? I am popular in school or at work. What if word spreads around that I get HIV tested?" Is that more important than finding out if you have a deadly disease or not? 

Stigma is a killer. The notion that one's reputation will be tarnished by the fact that one has HIV can psychologically pull one to the drain. The fear to be talked about, the fear to be recognized, the fear to be identified as somebody with a disease caused by "bad behavior" and being gay is something to be reckoned with. It is basically the same as exposing one's jugular, one's private life to everybody.

However, when will you get tested? When you are already sick? It is still the same then. You will still be tested, only in the confines of the hospital room or in the ward when you are already confined. Your fear is still the same. So why not get tested early. 

It is a sad reality that because of this inherent fear that some die. We have heard that in schools and in companies, young people die because of suspected AIDS defining illnesses. People speculate and families and friends wonder why they were not allowed to help when the inevitable could have been prevented. Fear kills. Judgement kills. Stigma kills.

But let's wake up to the reality. We need to prioritize our lives above others. We need to focus on our health first and we need to take that first step in getting control over it, no matter what other people think of us.

There are ways to go around this fear. 

a. Take the HIV test together with the other regular tests if you are really scared. Make it part of your annual physical examination. Make it also a habit because the more frequent you take the test, the more that you will become immune to the fear. Trust me, it works. Being proactive is the key. Don't wait for the time that you are feeling something and the HIV test is the only test that you are going to take for a you to know your health. 

b. Ask friends to come with you and take the test with you. It is easier done if with the company of people to drown out that fear. In Project Red Ribbon, we have people who can come with you as "brothers" or "sisters" so the fear can easily be extinguished.

7. "I don't have money to get the test"

This is one lame excuse. There are free HIV tests nationwide. In private clinics, the most expensive test is around P1,500, the cost of eating 3 times in McDonalds or 3 times your movie date with your partner. 

Sometimes we think of all excuses when it comes to our health. In the case of HIV, we need to move fast. No more excuses. If you need to go and line up in the free HIV testing clinic, do it. If you need to pay for the fee of a private HIV test clinic, pay for it. It is important that you do it NOW, before it is too late. No time for lame excuses. 


The time to get tested is NOW. No more delays. No more excuses. Don't let that fear eat your guts. The more you get scared, the more you delay the HIV test, the more you will be prone to infections, the more you will spend money, the more you will be scared. It is one big vicious cycle! So stop thinking and just do it. Stop procrastinating. One day is important. 

Think of your life. Think of your family. Think of your friends. 

Trust me with this. Taking the HIV test, no matter what the result will be, is one of the greatest decisions that you will make in your life.

So what are you waiting for? 

1. Get tested now before it's too late. 
2. Get tested now when you feel that you got exposed from HIV. 
3. Get tested fast before you start having illnesses.
4. Get tested now before you spend thousands of pesos because you are already sick.
5. Get tested now while you are still strong.

Life is important. Love it. Nurture it. Value it.


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