IS A.I.D.S. STILL REALLY A PROBLEM?
Hey, Cousin Butchie!
I am 17 years old and proud to be gay. I have three really great gay friends who are like brothers... or sisters(lol) We were getting sort of mellow and talking about a lot of things. My one friend said that he doesn't use condoms anymore. He said he hated using them, but he went on to say that the doctors can now give you a drug which will keep you from getting AIDS. None of the four of us have had an HIV test even though we have all had risky sex. I can't be totally sure about my friends because all dudes (gay and str8 and bi and everything else) tend to brag about doing things they really haven't done. On the other hand, I'm seriously worried because my experience wasn't a fantasy I created. I am absolutely terrorized by the prospect of getting tested. I cannot go to my doctor because he's friends with my parents. I remember that my parents took my coming out very nicely, but they literally begged me not to be unsafe.
I need to know if AIDS is stll a big deal. I never hear about anyone around school getting it. And with most of the dudes I have dated, not one has asked me my status. That sounds weird, but it's true. If I have AIDS I know my friends won't desert me, but I feel my parents might freak out. I have never let them down before, and I would not want this to be the first time.
Anonymous from Westfield
I am glad you wrote. Acquired Immune-Deficiency Syndrome (A.I.D.S.) has not miraculously disappeared, but there is a reluctance by infected people to disclose their positive status. You can worry about this for months because yu have AFRAIDS or you can get a test which will give you rapid results. If you test positive, they will direct you to all the right resources. If you test negative, they will tell you all the ways to stay negative.
Don't waste anymore time. You may go online at www.HIVtest.org or phone them at 1-800-CDC-INFO. You can find all of the closest tersting sites. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to find a testing site near home, and everything is confidential. There may be a charge, but you would not be turned away for lack of money. Most do not demand that parents be notified if the patient is under 17. It will all be spelled out to you, gently and in a very caring way. The sooner you act on this, the better you will feel. AND in the unlikely case that you are positive, you will be getting early treatment which is a must. It's been stated that men diagnosed with HIV positive meds are likely to die of something else, and not for a very long time.
There is a program which has proven successful. The HIV drug TRUVADA is taken to prevent infection. I don't have all the details, but I know the drug is expensive.... and it also doesn't help prevent other STDs warded off by condoms.
Decide now to get the test, and let me know how you make out. By the way, it's just possible that your three friends might either go with you and get tested themselves.