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Personal story: Cebokazi

Fear of getting tested only made things worse

Close-up shot of healthy young woman outdoors looking away while doing yoga
Photo credit: ©iStock/NickyLloyd. Photos are used for illustrative purposes. They do not imply health status or behaviour.

"I was raised in an environment where I was taught that having sex is a death or pregnancy sentence. Fast-forward to my 3rd year in university, I had unprotected sex once. After that day I didn’t know peace of mind. The stigmas of STDs literally gave my anxiety attacks. I convinced myself I had one. I have the most supportive friends in the world, but I was so embarrassed to confess such a thing.

My fear of getting tested only made things a lot worse. I Googled HIV for a year. My anxiety was getting out of hand and by this time I already had a boyfriend, so I told him about my fear. With his amazing support I went and got tested.

I tested negative but I feel I need to write something so people don’t go through what I went through. STD stigma is not real, getting tested just means you’ll be able to move on from it. If you test positive, then you can get treatment and life goes on. If you test negative then you know, and life goes on.

Now I look back and think about all the anxiety attacks and damage to my mental health I could have avoided by just getting tested. HIV is not a death sentence; you’ll treat it for the rest of your life but you’ll be okay. Don’t let fear get in your way. I promise that no matter the result, it’s just better to know because then you can move on with life."

What we say

People often put off testing for HIV because they are worried about the result and what it will mean for them, but like Cebokazi says, it’s always better to know. No matter what the result is, knowing your status will allow you to take control of your health and help put your mind at ease. Learn more about testing for 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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