Get Tested for HIV: You Can Do It
June 26, 2012
Have you had unprotected sex with your partner, multiple partners or anonymous partners? Have you injected drugs or steroids or shared needles or syringes with others? Have you had unprotected sex with someone who could answer yes to any of the above questions? If so, you should get tested for HIV. I did.
Before sex for the first time with your partner, go get tested just to make sure you both are negative—not only just for HIV, but for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It is very important for both you and your partner to be tested, just to be on the safe side. I’ve had many friends say that they went to get tested and the results were negative, so that meant their girlfriends were also. That assumption could be right, but isn’t always true. It is possible to have a partner who is positive and not be positive yourself—yet. What you don’t know can hurt you.
When I went to get tested for the first time, I was hesitant because I didn’t know what the results were going to reveal. I knew that my history wasn’t as safe as it should have been, so I was pretty scared. I was so scared and nervous. I finally realized how important the test was. It’s hard to admit, but most times we don’t take safer sex seriously until something threatens our health. To my relief, my test results were negative and the “get tested” message that we all hear so often had new meaning for me.
Getting tested went differently than I expected. Honestly, I thought there was going to be a nurse examining my genital area, but it wasn’t close to that. Really, it felt like a regular doctor visit, but quicker. Each center tests differently—some use a blood test and others use a mouth swab. The blood test results have to be sent to a lab to be checked, so you have to come back to hear your results. The mouth swab results are ready in less than an hour, so you can find out your status during that same visit. I had a blood test, which was something like getting a shot because they had to draw some blood.
The thought of HIV is scary; but on the positive side, it’s better to know your status. If you’re negative, at least you know. And if you’re not, you can use your experiences to make others aware and start treatment to make sure you stay as healthy as possible. I got tested; now it’s your turn.
Today is your opportunity. Thousands of people will be going to get tested for National HIV Testing Day. Why not join them?