We rushed to the hospital as I needed to urgently have blood tests, but the hospital was busy, there were people waiting to see a doctor too. The only words I conditioned my mind to hear were “Mr Schaerer, we’re ready for you”. I could hear nothing else, it felt like the world was slowly disappearing in front of me. Or maybe it was just me who was fading away. Those moments didn’t matter anyway, all I wanted was to know was my status. Inside the hospital there was a 24-hour pharmacy, I decided to walk there to find out if they had any rapid HIV testing kits. We bought one, but were hesitant to do the test ourselves, we didn’t want to mess it up. After reading the instructions over and over we are now finally confident enough to do the test ourselves. My heart was hitting my chest so hard I thought it would break my ribs apart. The longest 15 minutes of my life. I had done this before, but this time is was different. I waited for the lines to appear – those cruel, horrible, necessary lines were there, the two lines that were needed to indicate a positive reading on a rapid HIV test. In 15 minutes my entire world had changed. It’s difficult to remember exactly what happened after that, I don’t know where my friend went, he had probably gone outside to smoke a cigarette. When I eventually saw a doctor I told him that I had just tested HIV-positive on a rapid test which I had bought at the pharmacy inside the hospital. He asked me to do another rapid test – it felt like I was re-living the worst experience of my life. Again, the rapid test indicated that I was HIV-positive. The doctor said the rapid HIV tests are quite accurate. I will call a nurse to take your blood as a confirmation. “It’s not a death sentence anymore.”, as the he walked away. His words splinter inside me causing more pain than a blunt knife lodged into my heart. All I remember crying and falling to the floor. The nurse came back to run tests, she tested for HIV viral load, a full blood count, liver function, Hepatitis B Virus markers, Hepatitis C Virus markers as well as a CD4/CD8 count. I looked away at the wall, denial, trying not to centre my attention to the needle embedded in my arm. I didn’t know what she was talking about, I just kept quiet. I’ll admit I was ignorant, I never knew a lot about HIV and even as I tried to recall what I did know, I quickly realised it was little. I had always thought this would never be a challenge I would ever face, even as a gay man.