Know Your Status?
I know it sounds hokey, and I usually have to follow with a disclaimer like "I'm not promiscuous!" because there's a certain stigma that, if you need an HIV test, you're probably sleeping around. This isn't always the case, and if you're holding back because of what people might think about you - don't!
Get tested. Know your status. Protect yourself.
If you're in the Chicago area and looking for a place for HIV tests, I recommend the Center on Halsted - it's quick, free, and confidential. The staff is also extremely helpful and welcoming.
My counselor might have thought I was nuts, though. Being a bit of an obsessive-compulsive hypochondriac, I got increasingly nervous as the timer counted backwards, ticking away the seconds until my results were ready. Even though I wasn't initially worried, something about the timer really makes you wonder "What if...?" So when the results came back negative, I couldn't stop staring at them, just in case they changed after a second or two - unlikely, but you never know. Finally the counselor had to ask if I wanted to take a picture to look at later...and I nearly said "yes" before deciding I didn't want to be that client.
Anyway, spread the word about safe sex. Here's a snippet from my friend on Facebook:
- The guy was like, "Your hands are really soft. I can tell this is gonna hurt."
- Ha. You got hit on at the HIV clinic!
- He was NOT hitting on me. Though he was a little cute.
- "Your hands are really soft." If that isn't a pick-up line...!
- So if I were giving you a venipuncture test and was like, "My, could you flex your arm for me?" that would be a pick-up line as well?
- Uh huh. And I would say, "I'll flex whatever you want me to flex." And then it'd be on! Don't you watch porn? Bow chick-a wah wow.
- I'm not sure I'd watch a porno called "Regular HIV Test Goes Bad."
- Well geez, you wouldn't title it that!