man talking in chair caption '*goes to urgent care for a random sore throat* 'it's strep, here's some antibiotics' (l) man in black outfit in dark room caption 'HIV'(c) man talking in chair hand on throat caption '*strep comes back, i lose30lbs, can barely walk*' (r)

@saintkyle13/TikTok

A TikToker is showcasing the importance of regular STD testing as what doctors thought was strep turned out to be HIV

‘I’ve been undetectable for 3.5 years now.’

 

Cecilia Lenzen

IRL

A person on TikTok is using their sexual health story to showcase the importance of routine STD testing.

Kyle (@saintkyle13) shares in a video that they went to urgent care for a “random sore throat” and were told they have strep throat. After taking antibiotics for strep, Kyle says the infection came back, alongside rapid weight loss and limited mobility.

@saintkyle13 get tested regularly and ask your partners what their status is! knowledge is power #fyp #gay #lgbt ♬ original sound – Ilan Kogan

Kyle says their doctor decided to run more tests and discovered that the TikToker had HIV. Symptoms of early HIV infection can include fatigue, fever, chills, night sweats, and a sore throat, akin to the symptoms of strep throat.

The CDC defines human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, as a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. Untreated HIV leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). HIV can be transmitted sexually, perinatally, and through sharing drug injection equipment. The use of latex condoms and clean injection equipment can help mitigate the risk of HIV transmission.

Kyle used the video’s caption to advocate for others to “get tested regularly and ask your partners what their status is! knowledge is power.”

As of May 8, the video has received over 537,000 views.

In a comment on their video, Kyle wrote, “i’ve been undetectable for 3.5 years now and healthier than i’ve ever been.” There is currently no cure for HIV/AIDS, but there are courses of treatment and medications that result in a undetectable viral load, making the virus non-transmissible to others.

The TikToker received an outpouring of support from viewers, and several shared their own HIV experiences as well.

“sorry , but im glad you made a comeback and doing well. ITS NOT THE END! ITS JUST A NEW START! shame on guys who dont get tested regularly!” one viewer commented on the video.

“Yea just got that call.. right in the middle of my final too. I cried for the remainder of the class. I’m definitely not taking the news very well,” another viewer commented.

In reply to the comment, the creator wrote, “i totally empathize with the initial shock, but your life is not over! hiv is completely manageable and with meds you’ll be undetectable in no time.”

“this happened to me but now I am healthy and undetectable,” one viewer shared.

Multiple viewers urged others to take PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), a medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One viewer asked why the TikToker wasn’t on PrEP: “Can I ask- Is there any reason you weren’t on prep?”

In reply to the question, the TikToker wrote, “I 110% should have been. I advocate to everyone to be on prep so that 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 are looking for resources, support, or healthcare services, a list of resources is available via the CDC.


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