I thought I just had a sore throat from common cold – but the truth was far worse

A TIKTOKER has encouraged everyone to get regularly checked for STIs after they were diagnosed with a life-changing illness.

They went to see a doctor after suffering with a sore throat and were told it was strep.

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that makes your throat feel scratchy and sore.

It usually comes on quickly and can include a fever, but in this case was misdiagnosed.

The TikToker, known as "saintkyle13", shared their journey to spread awareness of HIV testing.

They posted a video explaining how they were given antibiotics for strep throat.

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But after a few weeks it had come back, they had lost 30lbs and could "barely walk".

Doctors ran some more tests to find out what could be wrong and they were given the news they had HIV.

Under the video they wrote: "Get tested regularly and ask your partners what their status is. Knowledge is power!"

They added they have now been undetectable for three-and-a-half years and feel healthy.

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There are more than 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK – while an estimated 35 million people are HIV positive worldwide.

HIV, which stands for the human immunodeficiency virus, was first discovered by scientists in the early 1980s.

The virus attacks the immune system and, if left untreated, can weaken a person's ability to fight infections and disease.

But nowadays, thanks to modern medicine, the outcome is very different for those who are HIV positive.

Thanks to antiretroviral treatment – which people are given as soon as they are diagnosed – very few people in the UK go on to develop serious or late-stage HIV illnesses, and can expect to live long, healthy lives.

Most people with HIV will notice a short illness, similar to flu, two to six weeks after getting the virus.

After that, they can typically feel well for a long time.

Most people only notice any further symptoms of HIV years later, as the virus progresses.

Very early signs include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Body rash
  • Tiredness
  • Joint and/or muscle pain
  • Swollen glands

Only once the immune system is already severely damaged will the person show new symptoms. These include:

  • Weight loss
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Night sweats
  • Skin problems
  • Recurrent infections
  • Serious, life-threatening illnesses

It's quick and easy to get checked for HIV.

Blood tests can be done at a sexual health clinic, an HIV testing centre or with your GP – or you can order a kit online.

No-one will be told the result of your test, unless you give permission – including your employer, family and partners.

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Rapid finger tests will give results in 15 minutes, while blood samples at a testing centre will often take a day or week to come back.

The same goes for postal tests, which normally contact you a week later with your result.

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