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A writer's test

Inspired by her subject, a CL staff reporter gets an HIV test

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There are things that you can't help but wonder about after spending a day with someone like AIDS activist Devondia Roseborough.

The first question that came to mind was: "What's my status?"

On Jan. 7, I headed to my doctor's appointment and I decided that today was the day that I'd get tested for HIV.

It's not like I haven't taken an HIV test before, but that was last year. A lot can change in 365 days.

Was my old boyfriend faithful to me? And if he did cheat, did he use a condom? (Of course, condoms aren't foolproof. Using one doesn't mean you won't contract HIV.)

You ever think about all the crazy shit you've done in your life? Those thoughts roll through your mind as the doctor hands you your sheet to take to the lab.

Nervously, I walked down the hall. "I'm not positive," I'm telling myself as I adjust my bag on my arm.

Then you have to wait. I'm waiting for a technician to call my name and the thoughts become: "What if I am positive?"

How do I call my former partners and tell them that they need to go and get tested? What in the world will my family think?

Is my life over? Can I become an advocate like Devondia? That, I can answer without getting a test result back -- hell no.

I don't know if I'd be able to tell my mother, let alone the world. But I digress.

Closing my eyes, I say a silent prayer asking God to forgive me and don't let this test be a positive one.

My name is called and a technician directs me to a chair at the end of a row. She asks for my arm and I stick my right arm out with my eyes closed. The sight of blood makes me weak.

Wouldn't you know it -- this woman can't find a vein. "You have rolling veins," she says as she pulls the needle from my arm. Can I tell you how much that stick hurt?

She allows another technician to take my blood. But before the test can be conducted, there are papers to sign, giving the lab permission to test my blood. Well, I wouldn't be here if I didn't want this done, is what I think as I sign my name on the dotted line.

Inside, I tell myself that I'm being responsible. All sexually active people should know their status. Maybe if more people took ownership of their sexual health then we'd see a reduction in the rate of HIV infections in the United States, particularly Mecklenburg County.

"God, don't let me be positive," I think as the new technician tells me to make a fist and hold my arm straight.

Before I know it, my blood had filled two tubes that will be sent to the lab for testing.

"All right," the technician says. "We'll call you with your results."

Now, it's back to waiting.

cheris.hodges@creativeloafing.com

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