Last week, Betty and I met at the Mission Neighborhood Health center so we could each be tested for HIV. She had been tested in March so I doubt she was all that worried. It had been a bit longer for me, 1987 if memory serves.
She had gotten there a little before me and was already getting tested by the time I got arrived. Forutnately, there wasn’t too much of a line so I only had to wait about 15 minutes before going in. The woman who greeted me and led me back to a room to test me was nice and friendly, earnest enough to make me feel comfortable that she took her job seriously but not so much as to make me want to strangle her.
She asked me a few questions about my sexual history (which I answered with a minimum of winking and giggling) and also let me know that if the test came up positive, the clinic is required to inform the CDC. She told me this just before asking me for my name in case I might want to get creative about my identity. I suppose it might have been fun have me on file as “Otto Braunschauer” or some other silliness but since I was feeling like such a solid citizen for even getting tested, I decided to stick with my own name.
A week later we showed up again to get our results, this time from a man who was deadly serious in his demeanor. I could see why. A big part of his job description is telling people things that no one wants to hear. Still, it might have been nice to get some inkling that I tested negative before leading me down the corridor into one of the examination rooms. On the other hand, he has probably had to deal with jackasses cutting and running as soon as they got the good news before he could ask the requisite last few questions.
I’m glad I don’t have his job. I’m even gladder I don’t have HIV. Neither does Betty so it’s happy times all around.