How Many of Us Neglect Our Self-Care, Self-Loving & Self-Respect Out of Fear?

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 09:56
Submitted by Anonymous

February 12th marked the beginning of Sexual and Reproductive Health Week; this year’s campaign is Not Everything has to go Viral.

I attended a nursing conference last week that focused on communicable disease and there were several discussions around point-of-care (poc) HIV testing. The test can be done anywhere, and takes 60 seconds to read the result. I found myself saying “Why don’t I get one?”

I began second guessing why I needed the test; “I don’t really have anything to worry about, do I? It’s not like I fit into any high risk categories?” I wonder how many cases go undiagnosed because people do not fit into these traditional high-risk categories.

The message repeated during the conference was everyone who has ever had sexual intercourse should have an HIV test. I signed up to have it done the next afternoon. Over the course of the evening, I noted the reaction welling up in my body; the anxiety, nervousness, the butterflies. It consumed my thoughts more than I could ever thought possible over the course of the morning.

As a sexual health educator, I routinely recommend HIV and all other STI testing routinely. How can I ask others to do what I have not been doing myself? Testing yourself for HIV is a sign of self-loving, self-care and self-respect.

Sandy, an outreach nurse, brought me to a private spot in the hotel and proceeded to do the pre-test discussion with me and provided me with information about the test to ensure informed consent. The test itself was relatively quick; she pricked my finger, drew up the blood into a pipette and then emptied the blood onto what looked like a contraceptive sponge. She then mixed in 3 solutions and voila, 60 seconds later, my result presented itself. It was a relief to finally know my status.

While I had the opportunity, I also had blood drawn for Syphilis and Hepatitis, as well as swabs taken for everything from Chlamydia to Gonorrhea to Candida. And a pelvic/Pap test done. This was all in the space of 30 minutes in the private corner of a hotel meeting room.

What I appreciated about the testing I had today is the power I held in what was done, when it was done, and who was to receive the results. It took so much of the mystery, and ultimately fears, away from the unknown. How many of us neglect our self-care, self-loving and self-respect out of fear?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I guess, the price of the

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 11:46
Anna S. (not verified)

I guess, the price of the tests is often a discouraging factor. I live in Poland and here you have to fork out like a half of your salary to get the test. Secondly, doctor's reaction, while announcing to you, that you're infected, is not always as it should be. I happened to know, that I have hpv virus. The doctor treated me terribly. I have had only one sexual partner for a few years and had nobody before him, but still i felt like a prostitute...people tend to laugh at std, because they think the diseases are common only for people, who have sex with like a whole world. Ever since i got to know about my infection, i feel like a worse kind of woman and i lost a few months on crying and asking: why me. I hope, other women will get more professional care...

These tests are not covered by medicare

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 14:41

When I started my "free sex" in the 1970's (like as soon as I got divorced from my really boring marriage that included horrid sex)  my OB/GYN and I agreed to the following:  whenever I had intercourse with a new/different man I would call the office and she would order the STI blood tests.  Because it was an HMO (Kaiser) to get fast treatment (like less than 3 months) my doctor told me to lie and say I had been exposed to gonorrhea.  As a result, the nurses in the OB/GYN clinic treated me like a serious slutt.   When AIDS ran rampid in San Francisco I was fortunately in a long term relationship as that disease scared me and would have put a real damper on my "free sex" and flexibility.
Reason I'm rambling on is I recently had a vacation fling and called my Naturopath to order the STD's and HIV and he warned me that Medicare doesn't cover most if any of this - and he was right.  I have a medigap policy and the $800+ uncovered charges went to my Aetna group.  I haven't heard yet how much of this they will cover.   So I'll try to remember to update this thread when I hear back from them.
There is some fun, good news about my personal history described here. 
1. At 67 1/2, this is the FIRST time I've made a claim using my medicare/medigap and I'm really thrilled that it's for STI tests.
2. When I called my Naturopath's office and told the receptionist that I had this 2 week fling with a stranger, she said "Good for you!"   and then she got my Naturopath on the phone who starts the chat off with "Hey scored!"    
I love my Naturopath and what a refreshing difference in reaction from the old Kaiser OB/GYN clinic in the 1970's.  I guess all those nurses were non-orgasmic too. And my Naturopath and his staff obviously consider sex to be part of a healthy lifestyle
Healthy RX: Have Two Orgasms and Call Me in the Morning


Anna being treated like that

Wed, 02/22/2012 - 16:47
Jake E

Anna being treated like that sounds aweful. At age 50 half the population have hpv and most of those have no symptoms. Your medic should have told you how your condition can be managed if you have symptoms and how to best avoid spreading it to your partner. For most it's not a serious condition. 

calistogababe way to go at 67 and a 1/2!! :)