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Just go get tested

I finally did it... went and got tested for HIV. After months of being terrified and thinking of nothing else, I finally just went and did it.

It started a couple of months ago when I got back together with my bofyriend whom I started going out with when I was 14(he was 15). We were eachother's first everything, and had only slept with eachother up until last summer. During a 7 month break-up, I briefly dated another(slightly older guy) and had unprotected sex with him multiple times. Looking back 6 months later, I can not BELIEVE I was so stupid as to sleep with someone whose status I didn't know, and didn't even think to ask. As long as I didn't miss a birth control pill, condoms were rarely at the top of my list of concerns. STUPID. We broke up after a couple months of dating, and HIV still didn't cross my mind until a couple of months later. Then, before my boyfriend and I got back together, I slept with another guy, this time protected, but the condom broke. We did realize right away and change it, but it broke nontheless. After my first boyfriend and I got back together, and I found out that he hadn't been with anyone else during our breakup, and I was still the only person he'd slept with, I began to panic that I'd caught some kind of STD that I would end up passing on to him when he was so good during our breakup. He was hurt enough to find out that I had had sex with someone else... what would he think if he found out that it was unprotected and I had caught something because of it. And then the worst possible thought entered my mind... what if I had contracted HIV... that could ruin not only my life, but the life of the one man that I truly love in my life. The guy who I had dated over the summer had a long list of girls that he had slept with, and I knew he didn't think twice about using condoms. The more I thought about it, the more I began to PANIC. For the last couple of months it has been on my mind every day, almost constantly. I haven't been able to sleep, I've been crying, I can't begin to enjoy sex, nor have I had any desire for it. But I've just been too scared to get tested. What if the results were positive? I just couldn't handle it. What would I tell my parents? What would I tell my boyfriend? The past couple of weeks have been the worst. It has been absolute hell, I have barely slept, but still... I couldn't bring myself to go get tested. There is a free STD clinic with rapid HIV testing every Tuesday night in the town that I live in. I decided I would go a couple of days ago, but was still so scared that I tried to think of every way around it. I even went to 3 different pharmacies looking for the home HIV test. Finally, after not being able to concentrate on a word my dad was saying during a visit with him this evening, I just got in my car and drove myself to the clinic. I just couldn't stand it anymore. I was terrified right up until the counsler looked at the specimen, smiled and said "You're good."
I have never been so relieved. Because it has only been 2 months since my encounter when the condom broke, however, I do have to get tested again in a month. But the tests are 95-98% effective after 2 months, and although there is still a small concern, I am so relieved. This just goes to show that half of the battle is just going and getting tested. That can be SO hard. For anyone out there right now who is feeling like I felt, I truly feel for you. My advice to you is JUST GO GET TESTED. I understand how hard this can be, it is just SO scary. But it is essential that you get tested. For others as well as yourself. But most importantly, do it for you. You deserve to know the status of your health, and there is NO reason to ruin months, maybe even years of your life over something that may not even be an issue.
I also talked to the counseler about an internship with her, and during my appointment to get tested in a month, we are going to further discuss it. As part of the internship, I will travel with her to prisons, etc. for HIV education/prevetion and testing, and will do HIV testing and counseling at the clinic. If ANYONE wants to talk to someone who understands what it feels like to be scared, and truly empathizes and sympathizes with you, or if anyone has any questions, e-mail me at anytime. Good luck to all of you.
Peace and Love,


Sent via Email February 15, 2006, from NY, USA.

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