The place was full of people. Some familiar and some unfamiliar faces. In the main reception room was a birthday cake, which was in the process of becoming extinct: The cake was nearly done for but you could see the word Happy. It was the birthday of Chris my friend and one of the organizers of the HIV testing and counselling project of the Lovw Yourself Project.
The first time I heard of HIV and AIDS was when the story of Rock Hudson came out. And then there was the film Philadelphia. And then there was Dolzura Cortez and Sara Jane Salazar whose life were adapted into films. And of course there was Earvin Magic Johnson. One could say my education about HIV came from the news and the movies.
The process itself was simple. You just had to sign the form. Sit down and wait for your tuen. Before everything else there was a group lecture or session about HIV – this lasted for around thirty minutes or so depending on the questions asked. Then one just had to wait for one’s number to be called. I was number 85.
Pre-Counselling, Here the health worker would ask a few questions and give important facts about HIV. Thid he did with a flip chart.
The test itself, after the pre-counselling one was directed into another room where the test was to be conducted – drawing of a blood sample.
Then you went back into the large waiting room. Where familiar and un-familiar faces were waiting or just being around.
In the final stage, you would be getting your results and a bit of post-counselling about HIV.
The results were negative.
Why do it? Why subject oneself to the test?
It is free. But of course there are other reasons as well.
I decided to do it for two reasons. The first reason Of course was that I wanted to know and the second reason was I wanted to learn. And Indeed learn I did. Indeed in our age, where information is at our fingertips, going to the process seems redundant. But it is not. While it is true that in our age, information is out fingertps and one just need to click to get the information. But what type of information do we get and how reliable is it?
One still needs to go to the process and talk to experts to learn about things sumed up in the number series 345:
3 or Three Ways to get HIV –
From Mother to baby
Contact with the bload of someone with HIV – through bloof transfusion or use of the same needles.
4 or Four Fluids that carry HIV –
and Vahinal Fluid
Lastly number 5 ot Five Ways to Avoid HIV or ABCDE or HIV Preventon –
A is Abstinence
B is to Be Mutually faithful
C is to use Condoms: no unprotected sex
D is Do Not get drunk on alcohol or druus
E is to get Educated about HIV
This is at least what I remember from last, last Sunday.
Dolzura Cortez and Sarah Jane Salazar may have passed away but the two daughters of Sarah Jane Salazar are alive and HIV negative – Sarah Jane Salazar took steps to make sure here daughters did not become infected. Magic Johnson takes nedicine to control his HIV no different from my regimen as a diabetic. HIV is no different from diabetes II in that it can strike anyone – My diabetes was caused by overeating sweet stuff. And both for HIV and Diabetes education and treatment are important. More so education for the general public, everyone.
In this case Ignorance is not bliss but a folly, shaped by lack of knowledge or prejudice, that might lead to disastrous consequences.
Librarian: Sir, wouldn’t you be more comfortable in a study room?
[Andrew looks up and sees people in the library staring at him]
Andrew Beckett: No. Would it make you more comfortable?
- Philadelphia (1993)