Memoir of an intern doctor…Day 200. My HIV test fever!
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Memoir of an intern doctor…Day 200. My HIV test fever!

Image showing a positive and negative test. (Image got from the internet)

Its one thing asking your patients about their HIV status and declaring them serostatus unknown because their last test was over 3 months ago, and its another having to throw the same question to yourself as a health worker.

I can confidently declare that more than 90% of us actually don’t know our serostatus. Why? Because it expired after every encounter of unprotected intercourse, and after every 3 months even without unprotected intercourse…….

Recently I was faced by a situation. I had a patient who needed blood transfusion so urgently and there was no available donor. I decided I would donate blood for this patient. But as I walked to the laboratory for my blood to be screened, the big question came up. What happens if the screen says you’re HIV positive?

With all honesty, I wasn’t ready for this. I have taken PEP before as a student because of a needle stick injury. The experience was very bad, and slowly i have tried to be very careful about patient handling until recently when internship happened and I realised I had ignored very many needle stick injuries while disposing sharps after procedures on the ward and during theatre procedures. The reality suddenly came to me. I definitely knew I wasn’t ready for the whatever news.

Luckily, I was able to get this patient a different unit of blood from the hospital blood bank and remained with my own worries about this test.

Recently I gained the courage. Did the test and it turned out negative. It took 2 other tests to smile and when I told my closest friend about it, she seemed to have a similar reality check that she got herself tested today.

Dear fellow healthcare providers, let’s be very careful and let’s get ourselves tested frequently. This not only protects us, but also the patients we serve. A negative test helps you protect yourself more, a positive test helps you to get help/treatment early and delay disease progression.

I recently read Dr.Lucille Teasdale’s story (RIP) who died from AIDS she acquired while doing surgery at Lacor hospital very many years ago. Her story gave me the fears but actually made me want to do this test even more.

Take care of yourself 💝.

You can read Dr.Lucille Teasdale’s story here.

12 thoughts on “Memoir of an intern doctor…Day 200. My HIV test fever!

  1. Three tests in total for you to have a smile on ur face. Glad you removed all uncertain and now you’re sure of ur status.
    My past experience; Back during my university days, there was a blood testing exercise being held and I wasn’t ready to take the test. A close friend(girl) of mine pulled me out of the lecture room and down the testing centre we moved, had our blood samples taken and the anxiety of me not knowing my status grew with me. As the 9th hour approached I was still not ready for the results. On receiving the results even before I opened the envelope, a clot of confidence arose within me and I confidently placed the result envelope in my friend’s hands half-baked on the positivity of the results. The relief was when she told me I was negative just like her.
    Since then my behavior in the sexual arena has all been safety first.

  2. Great reality check Dr violah.

    Most times as health workers, we are too consumed in taking care of others that we forget about our own health, let alone the screening for different illnesses we are exposed to everyday, most of us have failed to have a proper balanced diet, survive on junks, sleep less hours and do the least exercise!
    May we take care of ourselves more than we do our patients, it’s utter disappointing to sit on the same bench for a consultation to a fellow Dr due to DM2 2° obesity!

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