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Practice what you preach…

07 Jun

I tend to post a lot of things about HIV/AIDS on my FaceBook page or even here. It’s a topic that is important to me. Maybe this is because I was a HIV/AIDS peer educator in high school. Or because I know people living with HIV/AIDS. Perhaps its because too many talented people died because of AIDS. Or that I know my friends are not practicing safe sex. Or because 1 in 5 people with HIV/AIDS or aware of their status. HIV/AIDS affects me.

June 5th marked 30 years since the first confirmed AIDS case. Thankfully, HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence anymore.

I been stepping up my posting HIV/AIDS posting game on FB. Yesterday,  I posted things about Sylvester James a music icon who died of AIDS.

I started thinking- I hope people don’t think I have HIV/AIDS since I post these things. I remember going through anxiety over whether or not I should “like” the FB pages for Greater than AIDS or The Black AIDS Institute, not wanting people to think that because I am interested in HIV/AIDS activism that I am infected. Typically when I start worrying about what others will think, that’s a sign for me to do it anyway. Which is why i “liked” Trans Queer: A Trans Fag Sex Journal on FB last week. I like to think that I am not afraid to talk about anything. This internal conflict in my head shows how strong the stigma is around HIV/AIDS. Not even wanting to be associated with it because of the fear that people might think I have it. It should not even really be about whether one is positive or negative, more about knowing your status. So I posted about HIV/AIDS online yesterday and I realized that I haven’t been tested since October. Generally people should be tested every 3-6 months. But since I don’t “really” have sex, I don’t really think about getting tested. I guess its my Christian background which gives me the tendency to not practice what I preach. I remember how difficult it was last time I was home in WPB to find a place that did HIV/STD testing, especially after 5:30 when people who work are free. I really do understand why some people don’t get tested, you would think the process would be easier with the rates of STD’s here in Florida. Getting tested even when you are pretty sure that you are negative is extremely stressful. In my head I replay all these redicouclous ways that I could have gotten infected. Like…the time I got a paper cut…who knows what bodily fluids was on that piece of paper or some other highly improbable way. So I went to www.hivtest.org to look up free places that did the rapid testing last night and planned to go today. Later that night I came across this video. The guy is hillarous but still addresses a lot the issues that one goes through when they get tested for HIV.

So I got tested this morning. In this random community/faith based testing facility. It was small and had bible quotes all over the place. The test was easy enough, a prick on the finger for blood. Then I was asked questions about my sexual history. The norm. Of course, I was sweating bullets as I waited for the results even though I don’t “really” have sex. I got my results back…negative AND they gave me a free $10  giftcard to Publix just for getting tested. That is motivation to take a HIV/AIDS test everyday…food is expensive.  Even though I was not really worried about being infected it felt good to have my negative status confirmed. Knowing is truly beautiful. Talking about it helps remove the stigma.

In other news I have this great post about me and Oprah that I started writing on May 20th and have yet to finish. No worries I am getting my life together and I will finish that within the next 2 days. In the meantime I will be leaving the country to begin my summer travels on June 19th. This year I am going back to Guatemala, as well as visiting El Salvador, Honduras and El Salvador. I am planning to be away for about 5 weeks.

Be Safe.

~Just Tab

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