Monday, August 9, 2010

Trying To Get Tested

My housemate overslept and didn’t go work today. I, on the other hand, had Monday as one of my rest days. We were bumming in the apartment when the idea of getting tested for HIV came up. We have both wanted to get tested for some time now, so we decided to go through with it.

We searched online for clinics that provided free HIV testing. We found one and housemate called the contact number posted. The guy who answered confirmed that the test was indeed free and said that the clinic closes at 4pm. There was a little confusion when they talked about how to get to the clinic.

Contact: Pasok ka tapos derecho ka sa dulo. Tapos kaliwa. Pangalawang pintuan after ng CR.
Housemate: Ano ulit?
Contact: Meron ka bang bolpen?
Housemate: Um, may kasama ako mamaya. Pero friends lang kami.
Contact: Bolpen, ipapasulat ko sayo yung directions.
Housemate: Ah. Teka...

Then there was the issue of codenames.

Me: Um.. Jason na lang ulit ako.
Housemate: Gawin nating “Jaeson” para maarte. Tapos ako si.. “Jaeden”.
Me: Sige, tapos gamitin mo real surname mo. “Jaeden Ku”.
Housemate: Ay pakshet oo nga. Jovit na lang ako.
Me: Sige tapos ako si Charice. Like a pyramid, yeah.

We eventually still settled with our real nicknames.

But our light disposition quickly faded once we got into a cab and began the long travel to the clinic. We both started to realize the full weight of what we were about to do. The future will only be either black or white for us. We either get a second shot at life or our ten-year countdown starts.

I’m pretty low-risk. I’ve gone all the way with only three guys. But they were all unprotected. And two of them were strangers who were obviously very promiscuous. I was worried that I would be another one of life’s ironies. The boy with HIV who has only had sex three times.

I tried to think of what I was going to do if the results turned positive. I really wasn’t sure. I probably won’t tell my mom because she already has enough on her mind. Heck, I probably won’t tell anyone at all. On second thought, I might have to tell those people I directly interact with everyday. Maybe it’s their right to know. But I can’t possibly tell the people at work because I’d be risking my job. And I’m going to need the money for meds.

Then there was the thought of having only ten more years to live. We all die, I know that. But it’s different when you know when your deadline is. How do you prepare yourself for impending death? How do you live knowing that in ten years a simple cold can take everything away?

And the regret. How do you get over the regret?

In the end, I still wasn’t able to answer any of my questions. I just hoped that the clinic had a really good counselling program.

After forty very long minutes, we were finally at the place. I had already psyched myself somehow. We quietly walked to the room. We paused in front of the door for a few seconds. Then housemate grabbed the doorknob and slowly opened the door.

We were greeted by a lady. She asked what we were there for. We told her that we wanted to be tested for HIV. She frowned and said that tests are done by appointment. Walk-ins are not entertained unless they arrive early and there are no appointments for that day. We told her that we contacted someone from the website. She answered that the contact probably thought we were scheduling for tomorrow.

To make it short, we did not get tested. I was devastated. It was the first time I actually built enough courage to have myself tested. I went through the forty minutes of mental torture on my way to the clinic. And it was all for nothing.

I can’t go through all of that again. It’s too much to deal with, considering that the risk for me is very low anyway. Three times, come on. And someone told me recently that tops are not that prone. That makes the probability that I have HIV ridiculously low.

I’m holding on to that low probability. I’ve already tried knowing for sure but it didn’t happen. I’m not going to try again.

Call me childish or immature, but I just can’t go through all of that another time.