In anticipation of Thursday being #June27 National HIV Testing Day, I took my first HIV test in 20+ years (and yes, I have been having sex all those years–I know, I know, not really health conscious! I was being a straight chick who knew better and was behaving dumbly. I should have been tested before and after each relationship).
So I went to an AIDS Healthcare Foundation free testing site, located in one of their Out of the Closet Thrift Shops for my test. Proceeds from Out of the Closet help fund treatment, prevention and testing programs worldwide. The test is free, though donations are gratefully accepted, with 96% of each dollar going to HIV care, prevention, awareness, and advocacy.
I signed in and went to the touchscreen which asks you about your sex partners and drug habits, and then wants to know your name and other info. I asked the counselor about anonymous testing, and he said that I could fill in whatever I wanted, but if my results were positive, I would probably want to give him the real information in order to to get into their healthcare programs. I decided to cross that bridge when I got there.
The test was quick, the Clearview Rapid HIV test which required a quick finger prick–and yes it hurt a little! If the test came back positive, I would be tested with a rapid test from another label. If I was negative and wanted a printed copy of my test I would have to show my ID. I asked why and my counselor explained that it was to insure that porn workers who were positive were not sending other people in to get tested in their place. (Porn jobs require proof the performers/actors are free of STDs and HIV).
While I waited for my results, I browsed Out of the Closet’s shelves and racks. This is where I buy wine glasses for grown-up parties at my house and flower vases to take along with bouquets for hosts and hostesses.They have a lot of good books, and some cool furniture and appliances. For research purposes I looked at the women’s clothes which featured a good number of mall labels (bebe, Baby Phat, Arden B., The Limited, Tahari, ABS–all less than at Goodwill!). A couple guys were also waiting to be tested and for their test results.
During my results session with the counselor, I told him about the #TestMe project and our twitter feed @TestMeJune27. He was really stoked about it and is going to spread the word to other AHF locations.
Please support HIV testing and awareness by tweeting #testme #June27 #bringafriend #tell10. #TestMe is supported by numerous advocacy organizations and individuals, including PLFAG, The National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, GLAAD, Equality Youth, Get Equal, GMHC, Howard Dean, Fred Karger, and Michael Rogers. The initiative developed out of the Netroot Nation 13 LGBT+Ally pre-conference.