LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As someone living with HIV, I have become very self-disciplined when it comes to listening to my body and taking all precautionary measures to make sure my immune system is strong and healthy. Being diagnosed at the age of 27, I learned not to take my health and well-being for granted.
So, like many who are practicing physical distancing, self-isolation and washing my hands thoroughly throughout the day, I became concerned on Friday, March 20, when I was struck down with something that left me with chills, body aches, fatigued, a runny nose, a dry cough, and what, at times felt like shortness of breath. All I wanted to do was sleep. So sleep I did. Instead of working from home, I spent all of that Friday and a good part of the following day in bed sleeping. Gradually over the next few days I started to feel "normal" again.
With 24/7 news about COVID-19, its symptoms, the precautions we should take, and information about those who are at risk I decided to reach out to my doctor and see if I was able to get a test. Fortunately, because of my HIV status and the symptoms I had been displaying I was able to on Tuesday, 24 March.
Unlike a regular "test" where I would usually go into the doctor's office and have my blood drawn or a swab taken, I was instructed to drive to the lower level of the parking garage and wait for my medical team to come down. I wasn't to get out of my car - everything would take place through the window. This all done for obvious reasons of not wanting to potentially contaminate the offices of my doctor or those whom I may come in to contact with.
My doctor and her colleague came down and did the nasal swab (unlike any kind of swab I've had before, this one reaches to far back of your nasal cavity), handed me some paperwork and I was on my way. I was advised it would be five to six days before I would get my results.
At 8:35 am on Sunday my doctor reached out to me to let me know that she had my results. In this new normal of FaceTime and Skype Dr. Anu from UCLA Health was able to tell me face to face that fortunately for me my test came back negative.
She also had this to say, "People that have cold like symptoms and viruses -- more often that not, we think COVID-19 but other viruses don't take a vacation right?"
Having received the news at age 27 that I would be living with HIV for the rest of my life, my "fear" level of a COVID-19 positive test result was low. As I mentioned, being in-tune with my body and listening to it has served me well thus far. I am however, very happy to say that as of today I feel 100%, am in good spirits and continue to be healthy and HIV undetectable.
ABC7 & "On The Red Carpet's" Karl Schmid gets the COVID19 coronavirus test