I was about 20 when HIV became a national issue instead of ‘just a gay one’. I’ll always remember my first HIV test, scary as hell. I was in Oregon at the time, and the county health office offered them for free, BUT the procedure was to
- Take the test, after an orientation about what HIV was and how it could be transmitted.
- Wait two weeks for results
- Return for results
- Go through an hour-long orientation about resources if you DO have HIV.
- Get results
- Cry with relief/shock/despair
That was just scary as hell to me. My sex ed consisted of a two hour block of biological slides when I was 10, plus assurances from my mom that sex wasn’t an evil thing. Thank gods for Planned Parenthood and all, but even they weren’t giving out free condoms during the first five years of my active sex life, so I had a lot to worry about.
Anyway, I’m just glad this is so much easier now. Even though it’s been over 20 years since this was an acknowledged, widespread concern, I believe there are still a ton of people who’d prefer to find out with privacy.