No one ever wants to talk about it. And that’s amazing since you can’t watch a full hour of TV without hearing some celebrity spewing statistics at you or watching some young girl bop down the street turning down guys left and right – you know, things that are supposed to reflect you. Me.
Despite the ads on TV, radio, magazines and billboards we still don’t want to talk about it. How many of us sit down and discuss our feelings about this pandemic with our friends? Our family? How many of us discuss preventative measures? Why? It’s that elephant in the room that still makes everyone uncomfortable. Maybe we need to push that discomfort a little further.
Forget statistics for a moment. Here’s a fact: in order for there to even be statistics, there need to be reports. And most people with HIV or AIDS don’t even know they have it. Most of us have encountered – and not necessarily sexually – people who have either HIV or AIDS. Did you know? Did they know?
Back to the stats. According to www.nineandahalfminutes.org someone in the US is infected with HIV every 9 minutes and 30 seconds. I hope that makes more than a few people utter a cute little “WTF.”
At this point in the fight everyone is urging us to know our status. And what’s the harm in it? What are you afraid of? Being a leper? Get over it. Something’s already wrong with you. You’re too black. Too white. Too fat. Too skinny. Your breath smells like hot shit on a windy day. But HIV and AIDS can be treated too. No money? Get over that too. Because they’re too many people in this fight who want you to live.
And if the test comes back negative, why wouldn’t you want that sense of empowerment?
Trust me, I’m scared shitless EVERY time I’m tested. Why? Because I watch TV, listen to the radio, and read magazines that are perpetually scaring me half to death about this thing. But I go. And every time I call for the results or find myself in the waiting room twiddling my thumbs for the rapid test results and the nurse says, “negative,” there’s no greater sense of relief. No greater renewal of dedication to self. I owe it to myself to know where I stand and to continue to protect myself.
Some folks argue over whether this fight should be fought here at home or in Africa (if you live under a rock, Africa is the most AIDS-ravaged continent on the globe). I’ve got my opinions on that too. A tale for a different time. But at least they’re fighting. Why don’t you?
I’m not asking you to grab a picket sign, donate half of your paychecks to research or even volunteer your time. I’m only asking you to get tested. Grab a friend if you need to. Chances are they’re just as wary pf the whole thing as you are. Yes, it may be uncomfortable with someone there with you. But not nearly as uncomfortable as one could be alone. Join the fight by helping to eliminate the need to fight. Know your status.
Here are some sites that can help you find a testing center in your area: