Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Get Tested and Wrap It Up!

World AIDS Day is here again and by now we are pretty aware of the importance of using condoms and getting tested. But we know that not everyone is taking this responsibility seriously even though HIV/AIDS is a reality. There's no excuse for not ensuring your sexual safety and that of your partners with so many free resources available here in the United States even if you do not have health insurance. For one, the Centers for Disease Control has a website (National HIV and STD Resources) where you can enter your zip code and find free HIV and STD testing within a 10 mile radius.

Time is not an acceptable excuse to not handle your sexual health business. Many clinics have rapid HIV testing in which the technicians will take an oral swab or prick your finger to test your blood and within 20 minutes you will have your status. You can also do this anonymously where instead of giving your name, the clinician will refer to you by number. Yes, you can get this all done on your lunch hour!

In addition to getting tested for HIV, you can also get STD testing at most of these free facilities. While you are there checking in on your HIV status, it's just a simple extra step to get tested for chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. This process may take a bit longer but again this is essential to make sure you and your partner are safe.

If I haven't convinced you yet, then maybe the promise of free condoms will entice you...even more so than a clean bill of health should. The clinics provide an assortment and array of condoms...and good ones too! I'm just saying condoms are a bit pricey in the stores these days so I'm pretty stoked to get some free ones. My local clinic in Harlem has Durex brand (and all varieties: intense sensation, sheer, etc.) but I'm sure it will depend on where you are located. Nonetheless, the government is actually paying for you to stay do your civic duty and go get tested!

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