Monday, January 17, 2011


I assume that people do not think much during sex. People are probably not thinking, “Wow this is happening,” or “I need to watch out, or I may get her pregnant,” or “He needs to brush his teeth.” People normally do not think, let alone during sex. I recently watched agog as pair of teenage idiots stood clueless while waiting and ordering at Starbucks. They were dithering about macchiato vs. latte; foam vs. topper. I doubt that they would engage in much dolorous excogitation in the middle of coitus. But one thing that has been illuminating, especially as of late since I just got tested, is sex and HIV. People do not think going into sex “I may get HIV from this.” Trust me, as a gay male, as a person who shared the bed with another who was positive, I never thought about it. I wonder why.

I try to get tested frequently. By “frequently” I mean semi-annually, by “try” I don’t know what I mean. I make an attempt to go to church every week; I aim to call my parent’s every Thursday. But do I make an attempt to get tested? I don’t know, I just do. This is not being sanctimonious, I am sure many people do not get tested. I assume most heterosexuals do not get tested for HIV, and sadly, I don’t think enough homosexuals do either. I just do it, and it is scary as Hell.

I know enough about HIV. As I said, I was in a relationship with somebody positive. We were safe, very safe. And as I ruminate about my sexual exploits of last year, it dawns on me, I am still so ignorant. Now Dear Reader, don’t get the wrong impression. I was not some sexual gymnast balancing partners on an engorged phallus. I didn’t really get all that much, but that might be subjective. But before I discuss more about HIV, I think I should add some background as to my recent year. I had intercourse with three people, two of them were ex-boyfriends, and one was an absolute stranger (with one of the two ex’s it was not protected). Regarding oral sex, I am not going to lie, there were many, and most were strangers. With all of them, I had fallatio performed on me (I really have to like the guy for me to open my mouth, and last year, I was mum on the subject).

I assume that if you are reading this blog, you have an odd understanding about me. I can be rather clinically detached. In fact, one of my relationships ended with the assertion that I calculated too many situations, when in fact, I should enjoy the moment. Well guess what, Dear Reader, I was not much of a machine, I did not think, I had random sex, with a lot of strangers.

Recently, I went to my normal spot to get tested, and I went through the same battery of questions. For the uninitiated, the questions range from the personal “How much do you make a year,” to the lurid “Have you been to a sex party,” to the extremely specific “Have you done LSD while engaging in anal sex.” I think I am an interesting test subject because I am a matter of extremes. With the first set of questions, I try to be as specific as possible. In response to educational level, I responded with “I have a law degree. I am licensed in Illinois and with the US Supreme Court. I want to get a MBA.” On questions about income, I actually asked, “Are you asking W-2, gross, or net? Or are you asking about adjusted gross income.” The specificity to my answers have no bearing to the results, but I give them because somehow, an answer about line 43 could control me being negative. I am so good about playing around with tax rates, surely I must be negative. Surely I can will it. The second set of questions, I completely gloss over. Have you had unprotected sex? “Yup.” Where do you normally meet men? “In a bar.” How many partners have you had? “A dozen, two.” I could pinpoint the first set of questions with marksman like accuracy; I was just driving around the second with training wheels. I didn’t want to talk about it. Maybe it is because I did not want to talk about my sex life, but more likely, it was because the second set of facts would determine my fate. The first set, was merely to determine my class.

Tests have changed a lot. The examiner swabbed my mouth and took a vial’s worth of blood. I was going to get my results in 15 minutes. I remember a Golden Girl’s episode where Rose had a scare, and she had to wait a week for her result. Fifteen minutes is a lot more bearable than one week, but it is still a hellish 15 minutes. I started to look around the walls. Everything was so sterile. Posters about various help groups with young gay men eliciting that it would be alright. My eyes were scanning everything in the room, it was like they were about to fall out of my sockets. The examiner noticed my nervousness, so he told me about how he was a paralegal. The topic of the familiar began to calm me. He talked about how he filed things for the Seventh Circuit. The minutes quickly ticked away. The discussion was about the first set, not about why I was there.

One more minute remained. “Ok, so if it is negative, there will be no stripe. If it is positive, it will be red.” I nodded assent, even though it did not register agreement to any result. Just a nod on my part - please no stripe. Why, why did I do what I did? I don’t even remember any of them, it wasn’t even good! If I die before my cats, who will take care of them. Sam eats a lot, do I need to create a trust for him?


The examiner looked at the vial. There was no emotion on his face. FUCK! Why is he not smiling? Why does he not tell me “Congratulations”? He shows me the vial. The paper was blank. I nearly had an aneurism. Oh my god, blank means positive right? Shit, I am positive. I stammered “What does blank, mean again?” He laughs, “It means negative.”

So I am negative. I don’t have it. This thing has infected so many people I know, but I don’t have it. I am going to try to be better, to be smarter. Sex is overrated anyway; all those bodily fluids – what a mess. What an emotional mess.


  1. 15 minutes? I was just tested weeks ago, just for the hell of it, and, like Rose, had to wait a week for results. Now I knew I was negative and only got tested for that one in a millionth chance that I was infected by sitting on the wrong toilet seat :) but that was a devastataing week anyway. Thoughts began running through my head "what if, what if." It is sort of like having a cop behind you on the road. You freak out even if you know you're following all the traffic laws.