When you get an HIV test they are not testing for the virus itself, they are testing your blood for your own antibodies that have developed in response to the virus’ presence in your system. Thats why it takes anywhere from 1-4 months to show up. Four might be stretching it, but I tend to do that. I read on a pamphlet or website or something somewhere once that it is technically possible for the virus to take up to 6 months to reveal itself. I cling to that fact as evidence even though I was tested 4 months after my last sexual encounter, I could be an extremely rare case. It’s possible. I really shouldn’t be allowed to hear facts like that. When I worked for the HIV/AIDS organization, I once asked a doctor there about contracting HIV through oral sex. She told me that it is incredibly unlikely, but technically possible. I certainly loved that last part. When I asked her what the odds were she put it this way : in her 30 years doing this kind of work (doctoring exclusively for HIV/AIDS patients) she knew of only one case of HIV being contracted orally, and the person had just had oral surgery. I’m still not certain how safe oral sex is, but the general consensus is that its a lot safer. Of course if you have gum disease, thats another story. Anyway. Because they only test for the antibody and not the virus, I hate HIV tests. They tell you to come back again if you’re negative, in a month or two. That’s just in case. A person like me takes that to mean that even the test is not accurate. My anxiety worsens. I get tested every three months not because I need to, but because I have a sick fear that is obviously rooted in some other mental disturbance. HIV just gets to be its face.
Number after number gets called, and mine is skipped. When that happened I knew it was a sign. I “know” a lot of things. Eventually everything is sorted out and your number is called by the person in the lab coat. You follow them, heart in throat, down a corridor, and are directed into a room. This room contains a doctor sitting in a chair. They have your file opened on the computer, and they ask you to have a seat. At this point I am fairly confident about what I am going to hear, and physically incapable of speech. Now is when the doctor looks on your chart and tells you your result. “Well Noah, you’re negative!”. A choir of Seraphim burst into the air while white doves shower the golden sky and I am floating upward – arms outstretched, singing “Hallelujah”. Thank you God for giving me a seventeenth chance. The doctor smiles at me cutely and tells me to “be good” and that she doesn’t want to have to tell me any bad news in the future. I think to myself that this woman must think I have had unprotected intercourse before, or shared needles or something. In reality I am basically a virgin who is addicted to feeling bad. I smile looking forward to 12 hours of ecstasy style bliss. On my way out of the building I remember that 9 weeks ago I kissed a guy when I was wasted. I have to go back to Chelsea in three months.