A TikTok user has gone viral after sharing his experience of getting a HIV diagnosis – with the first sign being a seemingly innocent sore throat.
Kyle Dallape, 27, a marketing director from California, US, started experiencing symptoms of a sore throat and was later diagnosed with strep throat, a bacterial infection, by his doctor.
Kyle – who uses he/they pronouns – found his symptoms started worsening, experiencing weight loss, oral thrush and swollen lymph nodes, as well as the bacterial infection returning twice.
Having lost 30lbs, he realised something was amiss.
As he had been tested for HIV a few weeks prior to his initial diagnosis, which came back negative, he didn’t think his symptoms could be linked.
But upon further testing in June 2018, he was diagnosed with the virus, which left him devastated.
“My biggest fear had been realised,” Kyle told Jam Press.
“My parents, friends and now-fiancé were all instrumental in helping me begin treatment and realise that my life wasn’t over.
“I started Biktarvy, a once-a-day pill to treat HIV, [a month later] and reached undetectable levels of the virus by November that year.
“Since then, my T-cell count continues to rise and my viral load has been undetectable ever since.”
In a bid to spread awareness and break the stigma surrounding HIV, he decided to share his ordeal on TikTok.
In a clip, which has received one million views and over 163,000 likes, Kyle begins by re-enacting his encounter with the doctor who diagnosed him with strep throat and prescribed antibiotics to help treat the infection.
Kyle explains that he lost 30lbs and could barely walk before having further tests to find out what was wrong.
In a final clip, the word “HIV” is written in the centre of the screen surrounded by a dark background.
Kyle captioned the post: “Get tested regularly and ask your partners what their status is! Knowledge is power.”
Users took to the comments to share their own experiences after being diagnosed with the virus.
“This happened to me but now I am healthy and undetectable,” one viewer commented.
Another person added: “Same but went for strep for three years until I found out.”
“Yeah…went through the same thing. Went in for sore throat, and went again a few weeks later. But I’m happier than ever,” someone else wrote.
One person said: “Going on six years and I’m so healthy and it’s like I don’t have it.”
“Took my prep after this,” another viewer added.
Kyle added: “HIV is not what it used to be, as modern medicine has come so far – but society has quite a way to catch up.
“I hope that by putting a face to this, I can show how manageable this disease can be and that those who are positive, can live long and healthy lives with treatment.
“It’s time for the stigma to end.”