I Have An Irrational Fear Of HIV
“Thank you God, for giving me a sixteenth chance.” Those words (substitute the accurate number) come out of my mouth every three months. Because every three months, when I have decided that the virus has been in my body long enough to produce enough antibodies for the test to detect, I go to the free and confidential health clinic in Chelsea on 29th street and get tested for HIV. The first time I went, I dragged my roommate with me, because I thought it would be nice to have a friend nearby while I hurled myself out a window after receiving the bad news. An extreme paranoia of HIV is incredibly overwhelming and consuming. Luckily I am not too bad – I only have minor panic attacks associated with fear of HIV, fear from logical situations – like the time I thought an e-mail infected me. I used to work for an HIV/AIDS charity, and I know a lot about the virus. I know how I can and can not contract HIV. I know the odds. Yet something inside me is convinced, I’ve got it. Sure, I may not have had sex in two years, or you know – injected myself with anything, but I can feel its presence. Sad, sick nonsense like this is what brings me to Ninth Avenue and 29th street four times a year, and if my insurance company didn’t refuse to pay for my multi-annual physical claims, I’d have a few more of those too.
I prefer to go to a clinic. It has more of a scary feeling to it, but at least I don’t have to wait five business days to find out if my achey foot is a rare first sign of a life altering illness or the result of last night’s interpretive dance. When people tell me they have never been tested for HIV, I legitimately am shocked and in awe of this angelic stress free creature and also in extreme fear and horror of their existence. I mean, regardless of my self detrimental complex about HIV, everyone should be tested. And if knowing your status isn’t enough motivation, then visiting a clinic to write about it in your blog should be. I have managed to coerce three friends to spend five hours getting tested for HIV solely because I forced them to watch as I proved them wrong about my status, and revealed the truth. Which of course is that yes, that guy I made out with 4 ½ weeks ago was a huge mistake. I feel really bad because I’m what you would consider a low-risk person when it comes STDs, especially HIV. I say this not only because I don’t get around very often and don’t use drugs, but also because due to my paralyzing fear of contraction, I have morphed into the most uniquely miserable lover. Whenever I am with someone intimately, which is about once to twice a year, this is what happens: I allow them to give me oral pleasure while I explain during the experience how I am totally interested in hooking up, but I only do oral and by I, I mean you. Its too bad because I’m pretty good in bed. As you can imagine this makes me into someone who may seem like a selfish lover. Luckily I don’t really offend more than a couple overweight grocery clerks per year.
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Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”
To begin, I got totally screwed over in the dental genes department. I was born with a pretty severe overbite and a mouth that was too small.
If this doesn’t become the biggest video on the Internet, then I have no faith left in humanity.