Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three, Four

It’s already my fourth time, but still nothing changes.

Yesterday I attended “Sexy Time,” a project of The LoveYourself Café (TLY) and Research Institute for tropical Medicine (RITM). It was billed as a “saferotic sex summit” with free HIV testing for those who wanted to avail of it. 48 MSMs participated in an HIV 101 peer seminar as well as discussion on sex that Migs described as “in a positive and non-judgmental way, and within a non-sexually charged setting,” which just means talking about sex without getting an erection. I joined it primarily because it’s been more than 6 months since my last HIV test, and because I wanted a chance to ask more about HIV.

All throughout the seminar and discussions, through the blood extraction, the free dinner and the waiting for the results, I was my usual ordinary self. Well, usual but with a slight headache, thanks to my clogged sinus.

But when I was called into the room for the results and the one-on-one post-test counseling, it was the same as with the three earlier tests. The fear comes back, the anxiety, and the uncertainty. Even if you’ve played safe all this time, even if you know that oral sex is fairly safe, you still go, “What if I draw the unlucky card this time?” That fear never leaves you entirely alone.

My counselor handed over the stapled envelope that contained the results. “You can tear it open,” my counselor said. But I neatly pried the staple off and open the envelope.

Hepatitis – negative
Syphilis – negative
HIV-1 & HIV-2 – negative

Thank you, Lord.

And thank you, TLY and RITM for “Sexy Time” and all these opportunities for the testing and for continuing to make safe places for people like us.


Victor Saudad said...

Were you in Morato last night? I think I saw you in one coffee place..

joelmcvie said...

@VICTOR: Yes, that was me in Baang Coffee. I was also with Gibbs Cadiz, Migs aka MGG, and other friends.

Advent said...

i was supposed to be part of this seminar. peer councillor chuva. heheh. my friend backed out at the last minute. oh well. glad to hear it turned out great.

joelmcvie said...

@ADVENT: Sayang, naka-chika sana kita.

Gregg said...

Hmmmm... I miss this one. Sayang. Sana merong ganito nyan sa Cebu.