I’ll never forget this story. Someone was telling me about the low turnout they had for a testing event. When it was over they had no idea what went wrong- they’d promoted the event, which seemingly had the community’s interest. Then when the day came, very few actually got tested.
A couple of days after the event, they found out why. They’d had a big sign saying something to the effect of: “FREE HIV TESTING- ENTER HERE!” People told them they were afraid to be seen entering the testing location. That’s how bad HIV stigma can be, even getting tested for HIV carries a weight.
Gwenn and I are part of the CDC’s social media campaign, #DoingItMyWay, which encourages HIV testing. If you go to their site, you can enter your zip code and find a testing location near you. You can also find at-home testing kits at participating drug stores...
But what do you do if you are concerned with seeing that ex-boyfriend, aunt or Sunday school teacher that moonlights at CVS or works at the Health Department?
One option is to get tested while you are traveling. Summer vacation? Find a testing location near your destination. Don’t have the money to travel? Order a home testing kit online. In some cases, though, that can be more expensive than making a road trip to a testing center 40 miles away. Either way, it’s worth your time and money to know your HIV status.
Hope everyone is having a great Summer. Stay cool out there!