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Personal story: Shayna

Feeling supported after testing for HIV

African American teenager
Photo credit: ©iStock/dmbaker. Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply health status or behaviour.

"Hello everybody, my name is Shayna. I am 23 years old. I was diagnosed with HIV in September 2014, just before my 23rd birthday. I found out by going to the GYN [gynaecologist] doctor. My doctor and I were trying to figure out why every time I got a Pap smear, the results came back abnormal. I kept following up with my doctor's appointment until finally the doctor told me the reason why it was abnormal – I had HIV.

I was too shocked from the information that I was given. I went for a second opinion at a nearby clinic. The result was the same as what my GYN told me. I got a referral to another place where I could get treatment and counselling.

Thank goodness I found a facility filled with sweet staff members, where I feel comfortable talking to anyone!

I feel that every lesson in life is for a reason and for you to go through things as an understanding. We all have differences in life but to acknowledge them is a big stepping-stone. Furthermore, life is a reflection of you, your goals, and your motivation.

I recommend to other teenagers and adults to stay on top of your status and get tested either if it is with a close family or friend. This day is not the end. Just realise from now on, you have to stay strong for yourself and your loved ones."

What we say

Feeling supported after learning that you are living with HIV is so important for living healthily and positively. Shayna stayed strong for those around her and importantly, for herself, which has helped her move forward with her life. For more information check out our pages on living with HIV.

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These personal stories have been submitted to us anonymously by individuals who use our site. Some of the stories have been edited for clarity purposes and names have been changed to protect identities.

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  • Last updated: 14 November 2022
  • Last full review: 01 March 2022
  • Next full review: 01 March 2025
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