Chances Were Slim
I didn’t think I could get HIV, or I guess I just thought my chances were slim. I don’t know. I guess I just didn’t think about it as much as I did something like Herpes. I’m a straight male, and I don’t have that many regular sex partners. Then, someone was talking about getting tested. They said that they get tested every 3 to 4 months. I asked “why” because that seems like a lot. They said that it’s the recommended time frame for people who aren’t mutually monogamous. My friend explained the different ways you can contract HIV and STDs. They told me info about the rates of transmission among different groups. We ended up talking for almost an hour about HIV and STDs. There was a lot of stuff I had never heard before. They told me of a place where I could get tested and didn’t need an appointment.
I drove to the free testing site one morning before work. It was like right before 9AM. I was seen within a few minutes. They pricked my finger, drew some blood, and I peed in a cup. I was nervous, but the person doing the testing was really relaxed and cheerful. They seemed more like a peer, which I preferred over going to the doctor to get tested. It just made me calmer overall. I think I was in and out within like 25 minutes - whole process beginning to end. I got my HIV results back in 15 minutes. I was really surprised; I didn’t know it would be that fast. I found out I am HIV negative. The other results they said will take a few days.
Another great part was that it’s all free. I just switched jobs, so I didn’t have insurance yet. Being able to walk in and receive medical care for free was so much easier than trying to find an in-network provider and all that. I think it is something I’ll do more regularly now, since the process was super convenient. I already told one of my friends about it, so that they can get tested too.
For anyone who is nervous about getting tested I would say just do it. I think it’s better to know instead of not knowing at all. If you have contracted something, and it goes untreated, it could lead to you getting really sick. Not knowing won’t make an STD go away. What I learned from my friend is that anyone can contract HIV or STDs. My friend let me read stories of other people’s experiences with getting tested and finding out their status before I went. It made the process feel less stigmatized for me. I go to the dentist every 6 months. I go for a physical with my primary doctor once a year, and now I can get tested for HIV and STDs every few months. It’s part of my routine physical health care now.