I just used OraQuick, the oral at-home HIV test to make sure I'm still negative, and, as I suspected, I still am. There's always that tiny bit of anxiety over what the results might be, but I think I know enough POZ people, at least online, to not worry too much about a possible positive result. I know that most of my POZ friends live happy, healthy lives, so, were I to acquire the virus, I know I'd be okay and have the support of others.
Oddly enough, I took the test today after having a little bit of a play session with a guy that was pretty tame. We merely gave each other hand jobs and rub downs. He indicated he was a bit of a germophobe and wasn't comfortable with anything more than that until we knew each other better. The following day, he asked me, via texts, if I was negative, to reassure himself that he'd be safe, even though there was no exchange of fluids at all. I explained that I am negative and told him which month I took my last test and reminded him that I'm on PrEP to prevent HIV infection. Knowing that I was due for testing again, though, I told him that I'd get a home test and let him know what the results were this weekend.
I went first to Walgreens, looking for the at-home HIV test and I wasn't able to find any. Hell, I was surprised that I also didn't see any condoms or lube, which seemed puzzling to me. Maybe I just didn't look in the right places. I'm hoping that's the case. I did see an at-home test behind the counter at the pharmacy, but it was nearly $60, and you had to ask the pharmacist for it. It annoys me that this is something that you have to go and request from someone. Part of the benefit of an at-home test, aside from its convenience, is that it's discreet and anonymous. If I have to ask for it, well, I'm not bothered by having to ask a pharmacist, specifically. I'm more annoyed that I would have to do so in front of other customers who are there picking up their prescriptions. People shouldn't have to do this, and it probably deters some people from getting tested. I decided to go to RiteAid instead, even though it's probably 10 miles away.
When I got to RiteAid, it didn't take too long to find the test and OraQuick was ten dollars cheaper than the other one. I don't even know what the other brand, at Walgreens, was. The OraQuick box had a security alarm on it, by the way. Is there a huge problem with people stealing these bulky boxes?
I should mention that it's possible to get HIV testing done for free at numerous clinics around the country. There just aren't any anywhere near where I live. I also can't stand the barrage of questions that they ask you about your sexual history. It's obnoxious. I understand the purpose, for researching the infection rates and correlating them with the sexual practices of those who have been infected. But holy shit, there are just too many questions that ask how often you've done this or that, and when was the last time you did this thing or that. It's not like I write all of these activities in a calendar. Plus, well, as much as they need it for their research, I don't really think my sexual practices are anyone's business unless I choose to disclose them. For some reason, I don't believe their surveys are voluntary, either. And I'm not sure how accurate they can be since they are mandatory and require me to guess how many times I've had anal sex, oral sex, vaginal sex... That last one is pretty easy. The answer is zero.
Taking the test at home meant I could do so without having to make an appointment or without having to drive 15 to 40 miles (depending on the testing site) to get the testing done. It also saved me from having to go through all of the damn hurdles.
I recommend that you get tested, by whatever means is easiest for you. If you prefer the at-home tests, it seems like they're available at most pharmacies, but may require that you ask the pharmacist for it. If you prefer to get it done at a clinic, find out whether you'll need an appointment or not and how much it may cost if anything. There's also the option of having your own doctor do the testing. In which case you medical insurance may pay for it in whole or in part.