Me, Get Tested? What for?
My name is Andrea and I’m very excited about my pregnancy. My husband and I have been married for three years now, so we thought it was the perfect time to start our family. Fortunately, everything turned out just as we planned: when I my period was late the first month, I knew we had made it.
When I went to my first visit, the doctor asked me several questions and checked me thoroughly. He wanted to be sure about my state of health, that I don’t have diabetes nor hypertension, and he talked to me a lot about how to have a healthier pregnancy. But, I must confess that I was surprised when he told me that it was important to get an HIV screening test.
HIV test, why?
To be honest, I was a little offended. Who do you think I am? Then, I got a little concerned. Had he actually seen something strange in me? Something that made him suspect that I have that virus?
“Me, get tested? What for? I questioned him, trying to keep calm. “I have only been with one person my entire life: my husband”, I told him. He answered me with a question that caught me off guard: “And, your husband, how many people has he been with?”. To be honest, I knew that my husband was not a virgin when we met, though I didn’t want to get into his past because I was very jealous and that was information that I was not interested in knowing.
“I’m not accusing your husband of anything”, he said, “but it often happens that people start their sex lives before marrying, and they might have gotten sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV, with a previous partner”.
Safety and peace of mind, above all
He explained to me, that the main objective of knowing whether or not I had the virus, was to protect my baby from infection. If I tested positive, they could give me a treatment against the virus, called antiretroviral treatment, which would considerably reduce the possibility of my child being born with HIV.
He said that if I had HIV, there’s a possibility between 15 and 45% of transmitting it to the baby during pregnancy, but if it’s detected on time and treated, this possibility would drop to less than 5%. At the same time, my husband and I could start antiretroviral treatment in order to control the infection and keep a good state of health for a long time.
He also told me it was important to see this test as routine, not as something that could threaten the trust between my husband and myself; that this is about a disease which, although there is no cure for it, like diabetes, it can be controlled and the most modern treatments achieve this very well.
Honestly, I had already been convinced since the part about protecting my baby, so I decided to get tested. Deep down, I was worried about the result because, what would happen if I tested positive? Then I would have to confront my husband because of a potential infidelity or because I never dared ask him about his sexual history when I had the chance.
Fortunately, the result was negative and this gave me great peace of mind. Now I could focus on taking care of my health and my baby growing healthy inside of me, and my partner and I can enjoy this, our first pregnancy, which will surely not be the last.
At AHF we want you to have a full and healthy life. This is why we offer free HIV tests and we walk you through the linkage process for treatment in case of testing positive. Visit us or write to us via WhatsApp for more information.