June 27 is National HIV Testing Day.
Ok. Now there is one very important question you should ask yourself:
“When was the last time I was tested for HIV or for any other sexually transmitted disease/infection?”
I am posting the link to an article I wrote last year (2013) on National HIV Testing Day. (Click on mentions of the word “article” to read the post.) The same information therein is the same … except for one update: I got tested for HIV last month (May) and I’m again happy to report that the results of the test were negative.
Since my retirement from the military more than a decade ago, I make it a point to get tested annually for HIV in my birthday month; that way I never forget to get tested! Readers of this blog should note that in the article there is a link they should click which upon entry of their zip code they will be shown the nearest HIV and STD testing sites in their area.
I strongly encourage each person reading this blog to GO GET TESTED if they have either never been tested or have not been tested within the past year – regardless of their frequency of sexual activity – or lack thereof, over the past twelve months or so. HIV can show its effects at different times in a person life depending on that person’s physiology. In other words, just because you did not have sex in the past year does not mean that you did not get infected at some point before that. My article briefly mentions home HIV testing kits that one can buy however for many people, money is a problem. I’m not sure if one’s medical insurance will cover the cost of HIV home testing kits. Check with your insurance provider on that. The only concern I have with a person testing at home is about that person’s psychological reaction to the results of a positive test result. There is also the possibility of a person who does not carefully follow the enclosed instructions of the home HIV test kit somehow administering the test incorrectly which could yield an inaccurate test result. Many home testing kits may be “error proof” but people tend to read and perceive certain things differently. If a person is under duress or harbors some degree of fear of what might be learned from giving him/herself such a test, that person’s reading comprehension might be affected. To alleviate all that, I strongly suggest going to a free medical clinic and getting a FREE test – as noted in my article. Most clinics are now able to give you the test results in the same day. Test results are confidential. Another reason to consider going to a clinic over taking the home HIV test is that you can ask follow-up questions and address personal concerns to a doctor or nurse. However, if you opt to buy a home HIV testing kit then please – take your time and read the enclosed test administering instructions very carefully!!
Whenever it comes to personal health I often tell people – particularly men but most especially BLACK men – since statistically many men do not like to visit the doctor, that NO QUESTION OR CONCERN IS STUPID, DUMB OR ODD. I tell them that if it pops in your head PUT ASIDE PRIDE and EMBARRASSMENT and MAKE THAT QUESTION/CONCERN KNOWN to the physician or nurse practitioner trained in that area to address those questions and concerns. People can save themselves a host of worry and assumptions about their health condition when they speak up. Furthermore, if anyone has a doubt about what they have been told by their physician they should simply ask for a second opinion. Usually when it comes to HIV and/or STD testing the result is accurate and no immediate second testing is needed. However nothing prevents a person from requesting a second test or going to another clinic to get retested. That decision is up to the individual.
Bottom line readers: You must be satisfied and understand the results of any medical test that’s been given. You should carefully listen to and consider the advice of your doctor or nurse regarding preventive measures for your continued good health or regarding future care for health that has been compromised.
Read more in my articles National HIV Testing Day and this article from 2012 which sheds some awareness about the high rate of Black men being infected by HIV. Click here for links to websites that provide more information about HIV/AIDS and other STDs and about testing of HIV/AIDS and other STDs.
One last thing: My man Octavius Williams over at Cypher Avenue.com wrote an excellent article you all should read called: National HIV Testing Day: Who Cares? (click the title to access) The brother was on point! Too bad both his and perhaps my message are being ignored – or will be ignored by so many people – particularly by those who are already infected with HIV who should be helping to promote this day/event AND by others who have NEVER BEEN TESTED for HIV, by those who are AFRAID TO BE TESTED or worse, by those who HAVE NO PLANS to ever get tested! It’s very sad that each year, more and more people care less about things/events like this as more and more people get infected with such a terrible disease or some other STD.
Now go get tested. That’s right: “Take the test, take control!”