My fear when getting tested is rooted to one simple truth - I am sexually active. If people who get tested admit this to themselves, it will eventually lead to the acceptance of the reality that risks are akin to having sex. There is possibility of exposure to sexually transmissible infections, with casual sex, the probability of being called as a slut, or worse having unintentionally emotional attachment to a fling. I fear the latter most, indicative of how society has shaped me to care far more about social acceptance than physical wellness.
But our sexual health should have greater concern than the appreciation we long to have from people. If we are to consider Maslow's hierarchy of needs, sex is a basic need, a physical necessity, by which if threatened, should be given far more attention. Love and belonging comes third only after the assurance of safety and security.
It will really be hard to address a problem borne out of culture. There are a lot of idiotic things to address as counselor, and trying to work that out of a person most likely tops that list. And our culture as Filipinos and as Catholics is one like the walls of Jericho, only God himself could tear it down. So what I'd like people to think about is what do I know about HIV and am I at risk?
Sex. If you are active, then yes you are at risk. People also ask me questions about how risky are certain sexual activities compared to others, what I tell them, why does it matter? I try to curb inquiries such as these 'cause they might bring out discrimination against a certain demographic, but I answer them all the same. What I say to this is, whether it is high risk or low risk, there is still risk. And when you're already hot with torrid kissing, tongues a-blazing, who could tell what you'll be doing? Especially when you don't have a condom and a lubricant, what then?
To get to my point, when going for an HIV test, I want one thing for everyone to remember - being sexually active has its risks. And sex is a physiologic need that is hard to ignore, or maybe that's just me.