n Alvine Kapitako
WINDHOEK – A health specialist with ‘The Society for Family Health’ recently shared her experience on why men between 24 and 29 years of age are reluctant to go for a test to determine their HIV status.
According to reports, people in the 20 to 40 age group are most at risk of HIV infection. Also, young men in the 20-24 age group are not keen on testing for HIV, while women in that age group are equally at risk of infection, as they are more likely to engage in relationships with older men.
Ntomizodwa Makurira said that men in the 24-29 age group are afraid to be tested for HIV because of the knowledge gap on how empowering this can be. “You own your health,” she added.
Makurira also stated some people fear going on lifelong treatment.
“There’s a lot of misconceptions concerning ARVs and people feel that it will bring them side effects,” said Makurira. Additionally, fear of being stigmatised remains a concern that results in some people not testing for HIV.
People may be afraid to disclose their status to their partners, especially people who are single.
Also, some fear that their own family members may stigmatise them for being HIV positive, Makurira said.
She shared a recent experience where a man tested HIV positive and disappeared for months without going on treatment. “He sent me a text message recently explaining his fears,” she added. One of the man’s concerns was fear of going on lifelong treatment, said Makurira.