Today I had time to spare to get tested for HIV/AIDS. I’ve been tested before for HIV as well as other STDs. Fortunately, at this point in life to never have had to deal with the consequences of the not so glamorous part of sex. I believe it’s important for everyone to know whether you have an STD, particularly ones that can result in death. While I’m not a fan of demonizing those infected with HIV or AIDS virus, I do believe we all have a responsibility to know what is going on with our bodies as well as what we may potentially pass onto others. I think many people put off getting tested because of a combination of fear and inconvenience. I think people want to believe “oh I don’t look like I have this or that” and tell themselves “oh I could get tested later, it takes too long”, or “I would know if I had an STD”, or just rely on the appearance or words of their partner “If they don’t have an STD, then I must not either.”
I went to The Life Foundation at 677 Ala Moana Suite 226 to get tested; it’s actually very easy to find and right off Ala Moana BLVD. You can park inside the plaza and yes, they even validate your parking. They even have an HIV testing van; you can find the dates and times on their site. I actually recommend this place because apparently I walked in on a busy day and it only took me a total of 30 minutes to get in and out, ten minutes waiting and twenty minutes for the test. Pictured above was one of their waiting areas, In the photo below, I was reading some of their publications about the test I was about to take.
Their current campaign is “Get Real. Get Tested” and that is what I intended to do. I was planning on going to Diamond Head Clinic which also offers free and anonymous testing but they had a very long line and sometimes the back of the line is unable to get serviced due to time constraints and shortages. This is why Diamond Head Clinic advises people to come early. They do full service testing of all STDs in which take an oral swab and blood sample and you wait a week to call back with your special code to get your results. I recommend them if you want to check for STDS and the HIV virus and if you have time to spare. I have medical insurance and I’ve been tested for HIV and STDs through my primary care provider but I wanted to try one of these “rapid tests” to show you how fast and simple it is to “Get Real” and “Get Tested.”
In the above photo, I’m sitting down in the waiting area with my badge (I’m #017). I also have the OraQuick Advance pamphlet in my lap.
Things to note about OraQuick Advance:
- The test only take 20 minutes after it has been swabbed in your mouth to get the results.
- Approved for oral fluid, plasma, fingerstick or venipuncture whole blood.
- If you take this test, it won’t tell you if you’ve been infected by someone in the past three months. This is important if you have casual partners or one-night stands. Like a flu, cold, and other illnesses there is an incubation period. But, tests will let you know if you are HIV+ from the day you were born to three months prior to testing.
- A Negative means that anti-HIV antibodies were not detected in the specimen. This means if you feel you may have been exposed recently, you should be retested in three months.
- HIV can be transmitted through blood, semen, breast milk, and vaginal fluids.
After I was swabbed, the clinician asked me several questions. Some questions to see if I am a high risk candidate for HIV/AIDS but also to collect background information in case I tested positive so that I would be able to identify myself without ‘really identifying myself’ to maintain anonymity. I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I don’t have one-night stands, and apparently I don’t do a lot…. she labeled me as a ‘good girl’ instead of a high-risk candidate. We discussed other things and shared personal stories to help the time go by a little faster and she encouraged me to share the message about getting tested. I told her that I believe people in my generation in younger particularly in America are educated about AIDS and HIV but because a lot of us weren’t born or old enough to understand the severity of the AIDS outbreak in America, we didn’t get the impact of knowing about the loss of lives and severity of this preventable virus.
I was using my camera phone and obviously it’s not the best shot, but she informed me that I was negative and explained to me what each line meant and how it knows that it received a human sample. I am ‘HIV-’ and I want to keep it that way. But I believe whether you are positive or negative, the worst things you can do is to not allow yourself to know your status. We constantly update our facebook status so friends and family can check on how we are doing. But when was the last time you checked your HIV status to find out how you are REALLY doing. As friends we get our nails done, go shopping, go to the beach, and all sort of fun things, but we can do something so much more like find out our status. Wouldn’t you like to know? Maybe not, but don’t you think you deserve to? Get Real and Get Tested.