#Oktobertest: Are you doing it? (sponsored)

Take control of your sexual health this October.

BioSURE, the only legally approved HIV Self Test in South Africa recently launched #OktoberTest, a global movement aimed at generating and normalising the conversation around sex, HIV and testing – and letting everyone know that now they are able to test themselves easily and accurately wherever they feel most comfortable. The power is in your hands!

It makes sense that if we are going to talk about sex, we really should talk about testing for HIV. Incredibly, despite the thousands of people who live with HIV every day, not everyone knows that with the developments in treatment, HIV is now a manageable condition. You can have a normal, healthy life if you take your meds and it is no longer the scary monster it used to be – but only if you know your status. So, let’s get talking.

Self testing for HIV can be a powerful weapon in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Some people just can’t get to a clinic, some people just don’t want to go and answer questions, some people just don’t have time – but now there’s not really any excuses. The BioSURE HIV Self Test has proven to be super easy, needs only a fraction of a drop of blood and gives you your own, easy-to-read result in minutes. No clinics, no waiting, no questions.

Michael, swiping through Grindr one day, clicked on an ad for a BioSURE HIV Self-Test without thinking twice about it, it was something just to tick off his list. The unmarked package arrived with just his name and address on it. “I am safe so I had nothing to worry about,” is how he stated his feelings. Yet the test gave him a positive result and Michael’s world shattered.

Amidst confusion and anguish, the BioSURE test gave Michael the most vital tool to tackle his situation properly – knowledge. By knowing his status, Michael went to a doctor, got his result confirmed and consequently started his treatment. Within weeks he had (and still has) an undetectable viral load. He is fit, healthy and happy, knowing that he has a bright future ahead of him.

Michael admits he would not have tested, at that time, without the BioSURE HIV Self Test. He also said that doing so may well have saved his own life, but most importantly for him, has stopped him passing the virus on to someone else.

“People say that it is brave of me to be open about my status, but that is the exact reason why I am. It should not have to be a brave thing to do, people fear HIV as they don’t understand it and I know that feeling all too well. But it’s the word they fear. Place a person in front of the word and suddenly there is a shift in focus. Educate people in HIV and there is a shift in attitude. If we are not able to openly talk about our status or HIV, then as a society we will never be able to progress,” states Michael.

“HIV is life-changing, but it doesn’t have to be and should not be a life sentence,” is how Michael describes his condition.

Brigette Bard, CEO of BioSURE, in response to Michael’s story says: “HIV really is only 3 letters, it’s not a sentence. At BioSURE we are incredibly privileged to work in the field we do, where we can absolutely make a difference and Michael’s story renews our determination to continue to drive the conversation about testing until HIV has nowhere left to hide and it has lost the battle it’s been waging for far too long.”

Bard is recognised around the world as a leader in the field of HIV Self Testing and is passionate about the role Self Testing has to play in letting people make informed choices and assume responsibility for their own healthcare – be your own health advocate!

The #OktoberTest initiative is aimed at making HIV Self-Testing NOT a big deal and there are various ways you can get involved right now.

  1. JOIN IT: Join the #OktoberTest movement by having a conversation about HIV Self Testing on social media, over beers in the local pub or even when cuddled up in bed with that special someone.
  2. SHARE IT: Talk, write, mention, tweet, snap, insta – as much as you can using the following hashtags: #oktobertest | #doingit | #UequalsU | #KnowYourStatus | and tag us: @biosureZA
  3. DO IT: Get tested, on your own or with a partner! Test at your nearest clinic, GP or buy a test online or at your local pharmacy. Just make sure to check for the CE mark if you’re choosing to go over the counter – BioSURE is the only CE marked HIV Self-Test on the market and it works in 3 simple steps and 15 minutes in the comfort of your own home. BioSURE is available online from www.hivselftest.co.za or at your local Dis-Chem pharmacy.

Take control this October, and test today for a better tomorrow.

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