Getting tested for HIV
After years of being sexually active, my greatest fear that emerged was testing positive on an e.p.t. stick, not testing positive for HIV.
I was more focused on ensuring that I had my month supply of birth control pills rather than taking the necessary precautions to ensure that my risk for contracting HIV, or any Sexually Transmitted Infection for that matter, remained low.
The fact that I should get tested never crossed my mind. I honestly didn’t believe I ever had anything to be concerned about. I mean, yeah, I’ve had sex, but I’m no Jenna Jameson.
I will admit now that such a mindset was ignorant on my part. Not being overtly promiscuous did not mean I was in the clear. I was just as susceptible of contracting HIV as any other person out there, famous porn star or not.
Thinking back on it, I don’t think I ever once had a conversation with any partner about STI’s or being tested.
It’s only now I realize how stupid this was. Sure, talking about AIDS is probably not the best way to set the mood, but what did I really know about my one night stand back in April? What if he was HIV positive and chose not to disclose it with me?
So, in honor of World AIDS Day and AIDS Awareness Month, I did myself, and potential future partners, a favor and decided to get tested.
I called Wardenburg Tuesday morning and scheduled an appointment for later that afternoon. I was surprised about how easy and confidential it was – the only information required of me was my first name.
I arrived at my appointment late, because let’s face it, I’m never on time for anything except dinner. And I sure wasn’t racing to see if I had a life-changing virus swimming around in my blood stream.
When I checked in for my appointment, I was given information about the test I was receiving.
The test is called Uni-Gold Recombigen HIV, and through some fancy, over-my-head technology, it is able to detect HIV antibodies in my blood within a short amount of time through a small blood sample.
To say I wasn’t nervous while I waited to be tested would be an outright lie. I was, earlier that day, so positive I wouldn’t test positive. But by sitting there and waiting, I couldn’t help but wonder “what if . ”
I was called to the back by a friendly young woman named Kaela after what seemed to be a million years of me biting my nails in the waiting room (it was really only a few minutes).
I was taken into a small room and was asked to sit at a table that had literature about STI’s, free condoms and Jolly Ranchers. Kaela sat down with me, smiled and told me the process of the test and asked me a few preliminary questions.
She first wanted to know what I knew about HIV and AIDS.
So I idiotically spat out everything I learned from my seventh grade biology class while Kaela sat back with a permanent smile glued on her face.
Kaela then filled in the blanks, told me what support was available if I did test positive and proceeded with the test.
She quickly pricked my finger, extracted a minor sample of my blood, inserted it into the testing machine, gave me a stylish Bugs Bunny band-aid and told me that the test would read my result in 10 minutes.
Within those 10 minutes, I disclosed the details of my sex life from the past sixth months to Kaela like she was my best friend. She wanted to know everything, from how many partners I have had to whether or not my sexual activity incorporated anal and oral sex.
If I wasn’t already an open book, I could see where this simple interview could resemble an awkward integration process.
After 10 minutes of answering questions, all my “what ifs” subsided and I got my results. No HIV antibodies were detected in my bloodstream; I could officially say I was negative.
And that was it. It was easy, it was simple and I feel a lot better knowing my status. And my sex life thanks me for it.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Sara Fossum at email@example.com.