TikToker Discovered They Had HIV After Going to Doctor for Strep Throat

A TikTok user has opened up about their experience with HIV—a virus they were diagnosed with after a doctor initially wrote it off as strep throat.

Kyle, known by their TikTok name @saintkyle13, recalled their diagnosis in a now-viral video that has received around 850,000 views and 140,000 likes within just a few days of being posted.

In the video, Kyle said they initially went to an urgent care center for a "random sore throat" they were experiencing. The doctor suspected strep throat and prescribed antibiotics to get rid of it.

However, Kyle had to return to the doctors after the illness persisted along with 30 pounds of weight loss. They were also "barely" able to walk. Further testing revealed an HIV diagnosis.

This was some time ago, and Kyle said in a comment beneath the video: "I've been undetectable for 3.5 years now and healthier than I've ever been."

@saintkyle13

get tested regularly and ask your partners what their status is! knowledge is power 🫡 #fyp #gay #lgbt

♬ original sound - Ilan Kogan

Since posting the video, the TikTok user has released several other clips outlining how they dealt with their illness and has advocated openness and regular testing.

"Get tested regularly and ask your partners what their status is! Knowledge is power," wrote Kyle in the caption to the viral video.

In a follow-up clip, Kyle said people are "100% in your right to ask for proof that someone recently got tested."

They added: "If you truly feel uncomfortable asking someone for this, I know that it's sensitive information but if you feel like they will react in a way that is negative then maybe that's someone that you shouldn't be sleeping with."

Kyle told Newsweek: "Medication has come a long way, but now it's time for society to catch up and shed the stigma. My advice to everyone is to get tested regularly, use protection, consider PrEP, and be f***ing nice to each other."

HIV, which stands for human immunodeficiency virus, is a virus that attacks the body's immune system and can lead to AIDS if left untreated. There is currently no cure for HIV but it can be controlled so that people with it can live long, healthy lives and protect their partners, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the U.S., HIV is mainly spread by having sex or sharing syringes and other injection equipment with someone who is infected with it.

Symptoms can include flu-like symptoms within two to four weeks of infection which may include fever, chills, rash, night sweats, muscle aches, sore throat, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and mouth ulcers. More information on symptoms can be found on the CDC's website here.

Prevention strategies include not having sex, wearing condoms correctly during sex, and never sharing needles. There are also medicines known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) that can help prevent HIV.

Update, 5/11/22, 7:05 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to include a comment from Kyle.

Doctor holding patient's hand
A stock photo depicts a doctor holding a patient's hand as if consoling them. A TikTok user says they were diagnosed with HIV after going to see a doctor with a sore throat. pcess609/Getty