Fear, waiting and relief

THE Alexandra Health Centre near Sandton, Johannesburg, was bustling with people waiting to get tested for HIV yesterday.

THE Alexandra Health Centre near Sandton, Johannesburg, was bustling with people waiting to get tested for HIV yesterday.

I was invited to get tested with the Scripture Union South Africa group, who encouraged young people to know their status.

Though I thought to myself : "I have nothing to worry about", I was still scared.

After a pre-counselling session I was taken to an office where a nurse was ready for my test.

She pricked my middle finger and squeezed blood on to a piece of litmus paper in a plastic container.

She then marked the container with my initials. That set off alarm bells in my head.

"What if there is another NK here today?"

I had to wait 10 minutes to get my results, the longest 10 minutes in my life.

When I saw the single red line in front of the C on my test results I was relieved.

Counsellor Keke Mohalala told me it was advisable to test again after three months.

I asked her what her counselling was like with people whose results came back positive.

She usually explains the necessity of taking ARVs as well as encouraging people to go for check-ups for cancer and tuberculosis. They are also told about eating a balanced diet.

Ashley Potts, from the Scripture Union group, also tested for HIV. He said he felt a bit nervous but empowered at the same time.

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