One person on TikTok uses their sexual health story to demonstrate the importance of routine STD testing.
Kyle (@saintkyle13) shares in a video that they went to the emergency room for an “accidental sore throat” and were told they had a sore throat. After taking antibiotics for strep, Kyle says, the infection came back, along with rapid weight loss and limited mobility.
@saintkyle13 get tested regularly and ask your partners about their status! Knowledge is power #fyp #gay #lgbt ♬ Original sound – Ilan Kogan
Kyle says her doctor decided to run more tests and discovered the TikToker had HIV. Symptoms of early HIV infection may include fatigue, fever, chills, night sweats, and a sore throat, similar to symptoms of a sore throat.
The CDC defines human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, as a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. Untreated HIV leads to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV can be transmitted sexually, perinatally, and through sharing drug delivery devices. Using latex condoms and clean injection supplies can help reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
Kyle used the video’s caption to advocate for others to “get tested regularly and ask their partners about their status! knowledge is power.”
As of May 8, the video has received over 537,000 views.
In a comment on her video, Kyle wrote, “I’ve been undetectable for 3.5 years now and healthier than ever.” There is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS, but there are courses of treatment and medications that can lead to an undetectable one carry a viral load, making the virus non-transmissible to others.
The TikToker received a surge of support from viewers, with several also sharing their own HIV experiences.
“I’m sorry but I’m glad you’ve made a comeback and are doing well. IT IS NOT THE END! IT’S JUST A NEW BEGINNING! Shame on guys who don’t get tested regularly!” A viewer commented on the video.
“Yeah, I just got that call…also in the middle of my finals. I cried for the rest of the class. I’m definitely not taking the news well,” commented another viewer.
In response to the comment, the creator wrote, “I totally understand the initial shock but your life is not over yet! hiv is completely manageable and with medication you will be undetectable in no time.”
“This happened to me, but now I’m healthy and undetectable,” shared one viewer.
Several viewers urged others to take PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a drug that people at risk of HIV take to prevent them from contracting HIV through sex or injectable drugs. When taken as directed, PrEP is highly effective in preventing HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One viewer asked why the TikToker wasn’t on PrEP: “May I ask – is there a reason you weren’t on prep?”
In response to the question, the TikToker wrote: “I should have 110% done it. I encourage everyone to prepare so they don’t make the same mistake.”
The Daily Dot reached out to TikTok user @saintkyle13 via TikTok comment.
If you are a person living with HIV/AIDS and looking for resources, support or health services, A list of resources is available through the CDC.
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*Initial Release: May 8, 2022 3:09 PM CDT
Cecilia Lenzen is a journalism student at the University of Texas at Arlington and a freelance reporter for the Daily Dot.
https://www.dailydot.com/irl/not-strep-throat-hiv/ TikToker says what doctors thought was strep turned out to be HIV