yesterday i went with the lovely Se to get tested for HIV and Aids at UCT. technically i'm not a student anymore but shh.
every semester the university sets up booths in the jammie hall and invites students and staff to get tested for free with the goal being to eradicate the stigma around the disease by getting people to know their status.
we waited in line for about 20 minutes and chatted about condoms, same-sex relationships and plans for Ramfest. i didn't stop to think about what i do and don't know about HIV and when i was called into one of the nurses booth i got quite a shock.
firstly it was very hot and when its very hot your blood doesn't seem to flow quite so easily so not only did i have to get two jabs but i had to "let" myself by pushing the bright red liquid up and out of my finger. those of you who know me know that that is the scariest notion for me. but my nurse was so gung-ho she wouldn't even listen to my mumbling about being scared of needl...ow!
more importantly though, i learnt something about myself.
you see was totally clueless about the most simple aspects of the disease that so many people in Africa suffer from. these things i did not know:
1. there is a window period in which if you've been infected the antibodies will not show up. my nurse said they say that it's about 12 weeks.
2. HIV is the first stage of the disease. the bad cells start to kill off the white cells that keep your body healthy.
3. you only have AIDS when the bad cells have successfully killed off pretty much all of your white cells and other illnesses (such as TB, flu etc) can kill you.
4. HIV/Aids doesn't kill you, it affects your immune system allowing the other diseases to have a fatal effect on your body.
the thing is, i honestly thought i knew all this kinda stuff but when asked about them i came up blank. it was really a learning curve for me.
it's a good idea to be in the know about this disease especially because it is such a problem in our country.
on a positive note, happy Thursday lovelies.
anyone gonig to Ramfest this weekend? i am *so excited*
ps, i also don't know what my blood type is (very bad!) do you know what yours is?
image from here.