So, I’ve been wanting to get back to blogging for some time now. I’ve created so many fantabulous stories in my head. Today, the fantasies stop and the writing start.
I was invited to talk to a group of students about living with HIV. As the day of the zoom meeting approached, I realized that this was the first time I’d be talking publicly, in an open Q&A type format, about being HIV+.
I began to realize how little I know about the current world situation relating to HIV/AIDS. Sure, I’ll admit that just two months ago, when I created my homepage for #CelebrateUU and quoted Anthony Fauci, I didn’t know who he was or what he did. But now, I have a new respect for the NIH and CDC. If there was a time for science to prevail, it is now. I’ve worked with some great scientists who weren’t great communicators or leaders. But this Dr. Fauci is someone I can trust.
So what does all that have to do with the tea in Boston?
During my research time for my conversation, I came across the following statement on the CDC’s main fact page on HIV Testing:
CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. For those with specific risk factors, CDC recommends getting tested at least once a year.Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 21, 2020
So, any self-respecting gay man alive knows that if you’re sexually active, you should be tested regularly. General rule of thumb is for sexually active gay men, we be tested every 3-6 months. It takes about 3 months for the virus to become detectable in the body.
But, beyond that, I couldn’t have told you what precisely the CDC did recommend in terms of HIV testing for the general population.
And these students were most likely from the general population!
The same “general population” that can now recite backwards and forwards the five things the CDC recommends to combat COVID-19. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Remain at least 6 feet from other people. Um. Hm. Ok. We can recite most of the things they recommend.
But, I think this recommendation was news to some of the students in the room. My guess is they are all under 30. They would normally be considered sexually active. But, based on some of the discussion afterwards, I don’t believe anyone had ever clearly communicated that recommendation to them.
Which is why I’m so grateful that my friend asked me to come speak with her class.
It force me to engage with this “artivism” on a deeper level. And, it helped close a knowledge gap.
Now, what those students do with this new guidance is their choice. Like most health recommendations, the statement I read to the class is just a guideline. We still have to make choices on what we will do with that information or suggestion.
And, like me, I think the students now listen to the CDC a little more than they did a couple weeks ago.
And, I am realizing that as I get more into this project, I’ll learn more about people’s experiences living with HIV. And with that will come learning and processing.
And I’ll also have opportunities to talk in public and be a voice.
So, I’ll be doing more studying – and coming up with answers to questions that I now have, after going through this first talk.
Thanks for listening.
Done is better than perfect. Good is enough.