Frequent HIV testing is a fact of life for gay people. And even without a cure, we have found ways to lower risk and ease anxiety
To be gay is to get used to blood tests. If you are positive, you do them to monitor your HIV status. If you are negative and on PrEP, a daily medication that helps prevent HIV, you do them to ensure it’s working. If you are negative and not on PrEP, you do them to maintain your sanity. Every gay person has their own rhythm to testing, defined by their relationship to HIV, their sexual practices and their neuroses. No matter your status, waiting for test results is never easy. You count the minutes until you hear via text, in person, over the phone, in an app: your body is OK for now.
It won’t end until there is a cure. What we have right now is management. Since around 1980, when the first cases were identified in the US, 700,000 people have died of Aids. In my lifetime, it went from an epidemic with no cure to one for which we have the tools to at least approximate herd immunity. People still die. There are no certainties. And the blood sacrifice we give at the clinic every few months reminds us of this.
Read more: theguardian.com