I am quite an open person. I generally don’t have what one would term ‘secrets’ and if I do, then a good number of my closest friends probably know about it. I’m also a relatively responsible person. I don’t drink and drive; I pay all my bills on time; people can rely on me. Then why, you should ask yourself, was I quite happy to have unprotected sex without a condom?
Oh, I thought I was still being ‘responsible’ as this was my long-term boyfriend and I just figured he would be negative. Did I ask him? No. It did not even cross my mind, until a couple weeks, maybe one or two months later.
I was going out that evening, and he was staying in. I went to go and see him and he said “I have something to tell you.” He sat me down and told me he had gone to the doctor and he had had an HIV/AIDS test. I didn’t say anything, I just looked at him. He asked “well, aren’t you going to ask me the result?” I can’t remember what I answered, I suppose ‘yes’. I just remember thinking “you bastard…you sick, mean, asshole. You put me at risk when you yourself never knew.” Perhaps this was the beginning of the end of our relationship? I can’t be sure.
He told me “negative”. I breathed a sigh of relief and went out with my friends. I didn’t shout at him, I didn’t even say anything. I just went out and got drunk, horrendously drunk. What I remember thinking at the time, and have carried around with me since, is that there is a 3 month window period. Stupid, stupid me I kept telling myself.
The reason? My boyfriend had been with a number of ‘questionable’ girls for want of a better word prior to myself. And hey, if he didn’t feel the need to use a condom with me, why would it have been any different with them? Stupid, stupid me. I decided that I should wait and go and get tested after 3 months myself, so as to ensure no false-negatives. Well those 3 months came and went, they turned into 6 months, then 12, then 2 years, and then 3…now almost 4 years.
I think I told one, maybe 2 or 3 people during this period and 2 of those are very recent – the last month in fact.
During this time my boyfriend and I ended. We just moved in different worlds. We barely even talk anymore. I have not been with anyone since. Why still bring him up you ask? Well I was thinking about him today, thinking about what I would say to him if I was HIV positive.
I went for the test.
I was Negative.
Such relief. I wanted to cry for that naive, young girl who so trustingly gave her all to someone who didn’t deserve it, who abused her trust in fact; cry for that girl who knew how to do everything correctly, but didn’t; cry for that girl who had spent months and years agonising over going for a simple test, and when finding out, feeling like a weight had been lifted. I wanted to cry, but instead, I smiled.
Finally, I knew my status.
Do you know yours?