I always do my very best to practice what I preach as it pertains to HIV prevention and education: I talk, host and plan various forums on HIV prevention in New York State, and most important I encourage as many of my family members as possible to get HIV tested. I was extremely proud and happy when my sister shared with me that she decided to get tested for HIV after attending an HIV prevention event with me! But, interestingly, for a long time I never got tested because in my mind I was not at risk for HIV infection. However, in 2007 my excuses ended, when my friend and colleague Ann (not her real name) asked me if I was ever tested for HIV? I told her a delayed "Nooooooo, but I will get HIV tested at my next appointment with my health care provider."
My plan to later get tested was thwarted when Ann called me out; she said "Come with me -- you are the HIV program coordinator here (at my place of employment); you are going to get tested NOW!"!
So she took me by my arm and walked me to the room where the tester was sitting. Yep, this was at a health fair that I helped to organized for my employer. As I sat in the chair, I felt like my heart was pounding so LOUD and FAST that it scared me. After she gave me the swab and swabbed my cheeks, I felt like saying, "OK, let's hear it." As she was talking to me about HIV prevention, I was trying to peep behind her to see if I could read the results before she officially gave them to me. Now, talk about being nervous. She said to me, "I know what you are trying to do! But don't worry. It's negative." I was relieved and decided that I would use this opportunity to get as many people as I can to get tested.
Have you had a notable experience getting -- or not getting -- an HIV test? Share your own experiences in the comments section below!
Comment by: James J
Mon., Jul. 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm UTC
I went to be tested and was told I'd hear from them in about 5 days. Starting on the fifth day and for the next 8 days I called every day and was told my test was not in. This lead to increased panic by the day. Finally they said to come into the clinic. I was alone and had to wait for a "counselor" who told me I was positive and nothing more. I was shocked and wandered the streets for hours wondering how it happened and who I could dare call to share this information with. I worked in health care and would have lost my job if anyone knew. There was no treatment at the time and I went to the doctor and was told to start to get my affairs in order as I had about a year to live. Now here I am years later, still alive and very broke. That test ruined my life and I would have been better off not taking it and letting nature take it's course. No job, no money, no friends is not a life worth living. HIV may be treatable but the stigma and isolation and poverty that go with it are not worth living with.
Comment by: RJ
Mon., Jul. 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm UTC
Test without giving your name if at all possible! Home tests have been approved in the US. Nothing like having a health department employee getting into your business!
Comment by: laura r.
(las vegas, NV)
Fri., Jul. 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm UTC
as most positive people will tell you the day they tested positive was horrible. This test day was worse. Went to a GYN for another problem and while there requested an HIV STD tests. The dr's office calls a week later and asks me to come in. The Dr. takes me in his office tells me i'm positive then refers me to the health district ( his ofc is right next door, he actually pointed out the window) and leaves me standing at the window looking out, some time later a nurse comes in the room and asks me who i am/what am i doing in there. The Dr. had returned to seeing other patients.
Comment by: Shocked and horrified
Sun., Jul. 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm UTC
"I have not had that experience. I have never been tested. I guess it's never been a concern for me. I've only ever had one partner, and we've been together forever, just the two of us. It's definitely more on my radar now that I've worked in the HIV field than it ever was in the past"
Comment by: John
(Bowling Green, my)
Wed., Jun. 27, 2012 at 9:11 pm UTC
I had my HIV test at western Kentucky university on campus medical facility in bowling green Kentucky. . I tested positive and was treated with no compassion by the doctor. All she said was that "you're test took so long, because as I expected with your lifestyle, you're positive". The doctor walked out. It was a horrible experience! My wife went to have her test done after I tested positive at the Matthew 25 clinic and they were so understanding and compassionate. They didn't treat her like she was contagious, unlike my experience. Fortunately she tested negative.
Comment by: Tony
(Charlotte , nc )
Sun., Jul. 8, 2012 at 9:47 am UTC I completely undertand , when I was tested I didnt think anything about it, the dr said he would check the results and be right back, 10 mins later i heard him and the nurse talking and laughing ( about what i dont know ) so i figured nothing major, he then walked in stated " your positive and now i need to contact the health dept" and walked back out. I mean what the Heck ??
Comment by: Tim
Wed., Jun. 27, 2012 at 2:55 am UTC
I've been tested since the beginning of the epidemic and fortunately have been negative. In the past I have taken risks which could have killed me,but here I am. Always ask yourself: is the risk worth the possible long impact and risk for engaging in risky behaviors? We all live and learn,but being humans we sometimes learn the hard way. Be kind to yourself and ALWAYS have SAFE sex. If you do not know, get informed via a Google search. Always be skeptical of ANYONE you have sex with. If you shoot up drugs NEVER share needles. And make condoms your new friend. Love yourself and the life you save will be your own !
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