Well, today I got my first HIV test in, oh, about 15 years. Indeed. Why rush, after all? I delayed not because I was afraid of a positive result (and for the record, I am negative), but… well, I hate needles. I really hate them. I know there’s one where they swab your cheeks and I planned to do that one a few years ago, but didn’t. Since then I haven’t exactly been motivated.
But then one of my friends started asking me to get one, and I poked around for options. I found a few options for home testing (including the only one approved by the FDA), but they looked too cumbersome. I also didn’t want to have to wait any length of time for the test, as I’m cursed with a vivid imagination and a paranoid streak. Then I found out there’s a place here in Phoenix that does them for free and gives you results within just a few minutes.
So I went down there today. I filled out a paper, waited about five minutes and was ushered into a room. There they took a blood sample using a lancet that wasn’t like any I’d seen before. I was used to the ones that were basically a pointed bit of steel and you or a friend had to jab your finder hard to get it. In this case it was a small, spring-loaded device that didn’t really hurt at all. The blood was sucked up with a pipette and put into a small testing device with another bit of fluid. I chatted with the tester for less than ten minutes and got my result: negative. The whole thing was quick, mostly painless and surprisingly easy.
And there we are. I know now for the first time in many years exactly what my status is. This is reassuring. I shall get retested annually now, like I know I should. A friend of mine gets tested on his birthday each year, but I won’t do that (positive result = worst birthday present ever), but I will be more responsible and do it more.