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I Tested Positive For COVID But It Turns Out I Never Had The Virus!

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

On 3rd September 2020, one of my colleagues tested positive. Naturally, the rest of the colleagues felt that we should also test ourselves as we have closely worked with the positively tested associate. We gave our swab samples on the evening of 3rd September, Thursday. Many, including me, had no symptoms, whereas a couple of staff had some symptoms a week back, but by that time, had no symptoms.

We followed our normal work on Friday and Saturday. I addressed one webinar sponsored by RAMCO cement on ‘Challenges in Construction Sites’.  Everything was as usual and routine. But on Sunday, 6th September, the test result came and I found myself as Corona positive and had to be in self-isolation, immediately.

I was not only surprised but also shocked, especially when I was aware that the entire World finds it difficult to fight against Covid-19.

Naturally, the rest of the colleagues felt that we should also test ourselves as we have closely worked with the positively tested associate

I immediately informed my wife that I became Corona positive and my bedroom became my isolation chamber. I also intimated to all my friends, relatives, and others regarding the test results. Then I called to government helpline 104 intimating them, that ‘I have tested positive’ and asking what would be the next step to carry out.

In fact, since Lockdown started, I never stayed at home. Being an Engineer, I first engaged in the building of COVID centres and subsequently got the pass to look after my projects and 700 odd labourers/workers who were stuck at the labourer camps because of the all-India lockdown.

After 20th April 2020, the Construction sector opened, and thus, I was always at site/projects, irrespective of a lockdown or no lockdown. I am always sincere in following the COVID prevention protocols such as social distancing, masks, and hand sanitization. That’s why I was surprised when I became Corona positive. But then I thought, it may be a blessing in disguise and I could take some rest and even I could write something interesting.

Then the tele-doctor contacted and asked me how I was feeling. I said I am normal and I had no symptoms. Then the doctor wondered and asked why I tested myself! According to him, people having some symptoms should be tested as any asymptomatic person could be positive if testing is done on him.

Further, he said that asymptomatic people don’t spread or rarely spread so the protocols have changed. There’s a chance of a false-positive in the RT-PCR test. Finally, the doctor advised me to take vitamin-C, and multi-vitamins only.

This made me confused as to whether I am really positive or a victim of a false positive. In the next couple of days, the Municipality people came, pasted a poster in front of my flat, and advised my wife about what to do and what not to do.

Getting all the feedback from the Municipal people, my wife treated me as if I am a strange person and started observing all those protocols for dealing with a Corona positive patient, staying in home isolation. The domestic help stopped coming to the house and literally, along with me, my wife, and my son was imprisoned in the house.

From that day, my frustration level hit high. I felt that I was unnecessarily quarantined. No symptoms developed for another week. Thus, I went for another RT-PCR test on 11th September and found myself as Corona negative. I thought after being negative my quarantine should end. But Municipal people didn’t agree and explained that the guidelines say the quarantine will be for 17 days and that doesn’t speak about re-test. In fact, even after 17 days, the positive tested people are to be released without any test.

My frustration again increased as my further research on data said that Anti-gen tests give true positive but false-negative whereas the RT-PCR test gives true negative but sometimes false positive.

I was sure that my RT-PCR test in the first place was a false positive because experts say coronavirus stays in a patient’s body even up to 90 days after being cured. That’s why the guidelines say that when a corona positive patient becomes asymptomatic after 17 days (10 days at the hospital plus 7 days home quarantine or 17 days total home isolation), the quarantine ends without any testing because the RT-PCR test may show positive or false positive.

Later, I did an antibody test. If someone is infected by COVID 19, then anti-body to COVID develops in the body. My antibody test is negative which means I am yet to be infected by Covid-19 thus, I became a victim of a false positive!

My experience with those two weeks’ isolation was really frantic. I thought I could write something and took some rest too. But the thought that I might be a victim of a false-positive made me felt like I was under house arrest. The following are the lessons if others want to learn.

  • If you are asymptomatic, don’t go for tests, even if you came in contact with a COVID positive patient. It’s better to make yourself isolated in your house and wait for some days if any symptom develops. If no symptom develops then rejoin your daily work.
  • Even if you have mild symptoms like fever, cough, etc, stay isolated in the house, Contact doctors through tele-counselling, and take medicines prescribed. If the symptoms are eliminated in a three days’ time or even in 7 days’ time, then you are ready to join your work. Here, a point to be noted is that you must not have any co-morbidity.
  • In case you have a chronic disease and are above 60, then go for a test, if you have symptoms.
  • If a person who does not have any chronic diseases starts showing symptoms and experiences a loss of taste or smell, then he/she should immediately go for a test.

I concluded the above after discussing it with many doctor friends. And yes, Corona Virus is highly contaminating but can be treated like just another flu, if you have no co-morbidity.

Even if you test positive, don’t be fearful. It has a high recovery rate in India (or Indian atmosphere) with very low fatality. Even cancer patients at the age of 90 are recovering in India. Thus take care, observe all preventive measures/protocols, and if you still test positive, follow the doctor’s advice and stay positive.

 

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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