WHY PEOPLE PREFER BEING IGNORANT OF THEIR HIV STATUS
The fear of testing positive. It is very common to hear people (especially youths) say they would rather not know than to know they are HIV positive. The fact that they do not know their HIV status gives them some sort of peace of mind.
Many people do not want to get tested because they fear stigmatization and rejection. Despite the fact that the rate of stigmatization of AIDS patients has dropped considerably in the past years, people are still afraid of being looked upon and treated as AIDS patients. It is rather unfortunate that even after all the enlightenment on HIV/AIDS in recent years, patients are still stigmatized, even though in very subtle manners.
The fear of having to change lifestyles in the case where they test positive is another reason why people are afraid of knowing their HIV status. We all know that testing positive to HIV means living a more careful life, taking antiretroviral drugs every day, going to the doctor for check-ups, less or no alcohol and many others. Many people cannot cope with these changes, so they prefer being ignorant of their HIV status.
Other people put off testing for HIV because they believe their lifestyles are safe and they do not risk contracting HIV in anyway. They are faithful to their sexual partners, they use condoms during sex and do all they can to prevent HIV. The question is; is your partner as self-conscious as you are? Are they faithful to you? Do they use condoms with their other sex partners? And do those other sexual partners use condoms with their own sexual partners? It is some kind of a circle and one can never be too careful, so getting tested is really important for it is the only way one can be sure of their HIV status.
IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING YOUR STATUS
Peace of mind. This is one of the main thing people get when they know their HIV status, especially when it is negative. Imagine fretting at the thought of testing positive because of the kind of life you live and then you get a test and it comes back negative. It feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders.
Knowing your HIV status prevents you from infecting others or getting infected. This will also enable you get help in the case where you test positive. Those who are infected with the virus are able to get help and to integrate programs where they can be accompanied through the treatment process by professionals.
Getting tested for HIV is a way of encouraging those around you to get tested as well. Many people are very afraid of the unknown. When you get tested, you encourage your friends
to get tested and they encourage their friends. This is a great way of preventing the spread of the disease. It is commonly said that a tree does not make a forest and one person cannot change the world, but one person can initiate the change. Knowing your HIV status can be a great way of fighting against the Aids pandemic because it limits the spread of the virus.
AFRIC Editorial Article.