Today, I’m HIV Negative!

My HIV test came back today. It was negative. Kool!!  But why did I have to confirm and correct the Veterans Administration (VA) hospital nurse who called on how to report the results?  HIV test-negativeHere’s what happened:
VA Nurse: Mr. Robinson, your HIV test was normal.
Me: Huh? Normal?? Don’t you mean it was “negative”?
VA Nurse: Yes, the test was negative.
Me:  Are you sure you mean the test was negative?
VA Nurse: Yes, the test was negative.

Readers, when it comes to a serious test like HIV, the word “normal” can have many  implications. Perhaps the word is commonly used in such reports but in the years I’ve been tested for HIV, today is the first time anyone in the medical field has said, “your test was normal”.

I know a number of people who are living with HIV. You cannot just say to someone NOT affected with HIV that their test was “normal”. That could imply that they already have it and that current tests show that certain things are “within range” of expected normalcy for one living with and being treated for HIV. People with and being treated for HIV have to monitor certain blood cell count and activity and get constant check-ups to make sure any medications they are taking is working as expected. Their doctor has to determine that the infected person’s blood and the body are not undergoing some other physiological change(s) which could adversely affect the treatment or the overall health of the person who has HIV.

Before I go further, this important side-note is needed:
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is not AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). There is a difference. People simply do not “catch” or become infected with AIDS; they are infected with HIV. HIV is a slowly replicating retrovirus that causes AIDS. HIV attacks your body’s immune system. The virus destroys CD4 cells, which help your body fight diseases. It can severely damage your immune system and lead to AIDS.  AIDS is the final stage of the HIV disease. This is the MAIN reason for getting tested regularly and, if found positive for HIV, getting treatment.  There is more than enough information on the web and in every medical office, hospital and most institutes of learning about HIV and AIDS, its symptoms and how it is treated.

The reason I wanted to post something personal like my HIV test results is simply to share an important message:  NEVER let nurses or doctors give you a “matter-of-fact” report of any medical test you’ve taken, particularly those which may be health or life threatening. LISTEN carefully to what is being said to you. QUESTION, CHALLENGE and CONFIRM what you just heard so that there is no misunderstanding in your mind. If you choose to take the home HIV tests, such as the OraQuick Home HIV Test  for example, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY for how to test yourself (and/or your partner) and how to determine the results of the test.

Finally, if you are sexually active – be it daily, weekly, monthly or every six months or more, USE PROTECTION but [still] GET TESTED REGULARLY, especially if you should “slip up” (meaning you and/or your partner didn’t use a condom) which is the same as engaging in risky sexual behavior.  GET TESTED if you have any doubts about possible exposure to a STI (sexually transmitted infection) or STD (sexually transmitted disease).

Here’s a short video on how to put on a condom…correctly. You know, I always felt that men, not women ought to give such lessons, since WE have the “equipment” and since we don’t show women how to use a tampon, etc, but… after seeing this video, I’ll give the lady here a pass. Guys, even if you think you know how to put a condom on, watch it anyway; some of you might learn something new!

Now, let’s have fun and fuck…YES…by all means…but let’s do it responsibly! Your health and life… and that of any sex partner, may depend on it!

Keepin’ It…REAL!

National Masturbation Month 2013 Cums to an End…

National Masturbation Month (Week 5-fnal)

National Masturbation Month-Week 4

NMM humor (Rape yourself)

National Masturbation Month-Week 3

National Masturbation Month-Week 2

Masturbation Facts and Statistics

HandzOff Anti-Masturbatory Cream & Gum

May is Masturbation Month
Click “It’s…National Masturbation Month! (Why?)” to learn more about National Masturbation Month.
Remember, it’s YOUR body; there’s nothing wrong with self-pleasure!!

Keepin’ It…REAL!

Bill Hader (and Stefon), leaving SNL!

SNL's Bill HaderNBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL) is and has always been one of my favorite not-to-miss-shows for decades! The show often never ceases to amaze and keep me laughing!

It breaks my heart when classic acts leave SNL but I applaud and support their continued professional endeavors. One such act that I fell in great like (ok, …in LOVE) with is Bill Hader‘s Weekend Update character, “Stefon“. Bill Hader is leaving SNL (this was his last season) and with him goes “Stefon”.
Damn. I am so-o-o going to miss Stefon, one of the funniest acts on that segment of SNL!

All my best, Bill Hader/Stefon. Thanks for the belly aching laughs!SNL's Bill Hader as Stefon wSeth Meyers Weekend Update

Click here or below (apologies for the ad) for the video clip from the 2013 SNL season-ender where Stefon [nearly] marries CNN’s Anderson Cooper but ends up with WU anchor Seth Meyers…FINALLY!

With the departure of Bill Hader’s Stefon and other characters he’s portrayed, neither Weekend Update or Saturday Night Live itself will be the same!

Keepin’ It…REAL!

Question of the Week (series) / K-QOW No. 4

Questionmark2QUESTION: Is there a difference between “keeping it real” and “telling all your business”?

MY COMMENT:  Since high school, college, the present (here on my blog), and periods in between, I’ve always written papers and given speeches on how I see things (with some tactfulness applied where necessary).  In other words, I have no problem expressing my point of view. I think the difference between keeping it real and telling all your business actually depends on what one determines “real” to be or what that “business” happens to be.

Everyone has a conscience. Therefore, if one is comfortable with sharing a certain aspect or perhaps all things about themselves and he/she feels no shame, guilt or embarrassment in doing so, why should anyone else judge that person for being both “real” and “telling their business”?  No one is qualified to define or judge the level or degree to which a person’s particular information about themselves is “too personal” or “too much information” (TMI) to be shared with someone else. The onus is always going to be on the person sharing or telling such information; after all it is their business to tell or reveal.  To that person, he or she IS “being real”. And let’s remember: it’s often difficult for a person to slander himself so whatever that information or “business” happens to be, it is NOT up to you or me to say it should not be shared.

In my opinion and experience, “being real” is actually a personal perception and assessment. It means that person gets to determine to what degree he or she is going to be open, honest and frank with others or how freely they wish to express whatever is on the mind – and to do so without any regard for how others may perceive their thoughts. This is the issue society has had for generations when it comes to opposing free thinkers and those who are prudish about such natural things as sexuality. Society really wants to know what people are thinking but in the same light always contradicts itself by suggesting censorship of such thinking or ideas. It cannot be both ways. This is why I blog on the “free-thinker” level mindset.  People who read my blog often tell me that I write about things which others are afraid or reluctant to say. Well, that is one of the missions of this blog, Keepin’ It…REAL!; to serve not only as an outlet for my self-expression but perhaps to be helpful to those readers who might be thinking along the same lines as me but who could never put their thoughts into words. My blog covers subjects ranging from sexuality, religion, politics and music, on to general social issues and more.  I believe that we cannot ask people to “keep it real” yet expect them to bridle their passions and minds at the same time! Remember: Only the individual can define what “being real” or being open is, at least as far as anything that is about that person is concerned… and/or regarding any particular situation or event happening in that person’s life. In other words, what you or I might consider as “telling all of one’s business” may in fact be another person’s method of “being real”. We are in no position to say one way or another. We only have the choice to listen, believe it and/or ignore it; nothing more.  I say we ought to reserve such judgment of what an understands and considers as “being real”, i.e. being open, honest, and frank, (and so long as that person does not slander another person); we ought not bother classifying a person’s “realness” as “telling all their business”.

Keepin’ It…REAL!

Now, what say YOU? Post your comments below!

[Click here for K-QOW No. 1]  [Click here for K-QOW No. 2] [Click here for K-QOW No. 3]

It’s…National Masturbation Month! (Why?)

As some of you may know, May is National Masturbation Month. Someone asked me about this “National Masturbation Month” thing and whether there would be some festival or public celebration. First, there is no parade or festival (that I’m aware of); although some cities, like my home city Philadelphia, just a few weeks ago began its annual fund-raising Masturbate-a-Thon. That event runs to May 27th this year. Such events have been held somewhere nationally and throughout the world.

National Masturbation Day started out nearly twenty years ago, in 1995, in San Francisco at the sex-toy retail chain store Good Vibrations. It was started in response to the forced resignation of then-U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders after a speech she made at the United Nations World AIDS Day in 1994. When asked about masturbation as a safe alternative for sexually active teens, Elders said, “…masturbation is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught.” Due to the heat then-President Bill Clinton received from the political and religious front and many other prudes in society, Elders lost her job (read: was fired). People who understood the benefits and the pleasures of masturbation supported Elders and her comment and campaigned for her to keep her job.

Over time, National Masturbation Day, which at one time was held in some areas every May 7th, would grow into National Masturbation Week (or “wank week” to use a more playful term) and eventually became National Masturbation Month. It is also sometimes called World Masturbation Month, since campaigns to recognize and protect one’s right to masturbate is now recognized worldwide.

Man, woman masturbatingThe most important point of National Masturbation Month is to recognize that masturbation is a safe sexual activity. It can be an alternative to partner sex.  If you have a sexual partner, mutual masturbation is just as enjoyable and fun. The benefits of masturbation are simple: it’s natural, healthy, normal, fun, and free.  Like anything, there are certain responsibilities that go along with masturbation – i.e., time, place and frequency, but the activity should never be discouraged or made to be thought of as being some shameful, disgusting or even sinful thing.

To quote one anonymous writer:
“Masturbation is our first natural sexual activity. Masturbation is the ongoing love affair that each of us has with ourselves. Masturbation is normal, healthy, and fun, and even necessary for a male’s sexual health. It is not something to suffer through. It is not something to get rid of. It is something to enjoy and practice every day, if need be.”

More info is on Dr. Joycelyn Elders is here.

Links to National Masturbation Day is here; on National Masturbation Month, here.

Philadelphia’s Masturbate-a-Thon info is here:

Now that you know, you know what to do. Celebrate loving…and enjoying yourselves!

Keepin’ It…REAL!