How to be psychologically prepared for your HIV screening and accepting your results

How to be psychologically prepared for your HIV screening and accepting your results

Already thinking of taking a test to know if you’ve been infected with HIV is one of the scariest but also one of the best decisions you’re going to do in your life. No matter the time you finally make up your mind, you have to be brave. Whether you test negative or positive for the virus, your life and how you live it is going to change. How to psychologically prepare your mind before the deal day is a big step.

Do a pre-test counseling. The purpose of pre-test is further to find out why you want to be tested, the nature and extent of your previous and present high-risk behaviour, and the steps that need to be taken to prevent you from becoming infected or from transmitting HIV infection.

The counsellor will assess the likelihood of whether you have been exposed to HIV by considering how much and how frequently you have been exposed to risk factors such as sexual intercourse, blood transfusion and others. Then he or she will correct errors or myths by providing accurate information about transmission and prevention. Of course, you will have to talk about your past and present sexual behaviour and provide information about safer sex practices and a healthier lifestyle. Sex is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. The difference between being sero-positive and having Aids will be explained to you.

With all these information, you can be less anxious and knowing the result may reduce the stress associated with uncertainty. If positive, you may make rational plans and prepare yourself emotionally and spiritually to live with HIV. Anti-retroviral treatment can be considered.

Doreen Sere PENN with the expertise of Doctor Agbor Kerensky of the Chantal Biya's International Research Center (CIRCB)

Doreen Sere penn

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