Reports in Australian news website shared a story of one woman’s early infection with HIV.
“I met this guy out one night and we had a casual relationship. We were seeing each other for a couple of weeks and after that initial period he became quite sexually aggressive. After that incident I wasn’t planning on speaking to him again.
Soon I had a really vicious breakout of cold sores. I’d never had a cold sore in my life before. I was mortified. It felt like the worst news, which seems silly now. I had a sexual health test and it all came back clear but over the next few weeks I became more and more unwell. I had nausea, aches and pains and a horrible rash that was spreading quickly.
I knew something was wrong a few days after the cold sore breakout because I just got more and more sick. I did lots of Googling and I knew that my symptoms were presenting as a classic zero conversion. That’s when the [HIV] virus starts to replicate in your blood. That’s when you go from being HIV negative to HIV positive. I’m really grateful I had those symptoms so I was able to identify it.
The guy [I had dated] was really persistent. He asked to have lunch and I was really uncomfortable. I said, ‘Look I don’t want to see you again’ and he sent me a text saying ‘I hope you at least remember me forever’.
I went to the doctor and asked for an HIV test. The doctor said, ‘It’s probably not necessary, being a heterosexual young female, the chances are slim’. I told her what the guy had said so she ordered the test and I got a call back about three days later asking me to come back in.
I was still really crook at this point and the doctor was really visibly distressed. She said, ‘I’m so sorry but it looks like you’ve contracted HIV’. It was the worst possible news I could possibly receive. My first response was, ‘Look, I don’t want to live with this’. I was really lucky that I had lots of family support. They were able to cushion me through that initial period of shock.
What is great is that this woman has been able to access care and support from both her doctors and family.
Sadly what many people feel that HIV is a virus only infecting gay men, it’s important to understand that HIV is also present in the heterosexual community.
For this reason I recommend all sexually active people get a HIV test at least once a year and more often if you have had multiple partners.
Knowledge is the first key to care if you are living with HIV.
Dr George Forgan-Smith