“I took the test”

melissa takes the testmelissa.jpgmelissa.jpgmelissa.jpgI Took the Test

Melissa Douman

It’s 2.45 and my mind is made up – I’m going to do it. I’m going to take the test and finally know my HIV status.
The walk to Campus Health seems too short suddenly. Trying to convince myself I have nothing to worry about, I cannot shake the feeling of having the world on my shoulders.
When I ask about being tested, I’m told I can do it in the next 15 minutes. But then I’m asked for my student card and realise I don’t have it on me. I am turned away.
I walk away disappointed. I must confess to a slight relief, but mostly I feel upset that I still don’t know my status. A little voice tells me to be more persistent.
I walk back into Campus Health, determined not to take no for an answer. I explain how important this is to me. I remind them that, since I was here last week for an interview, I must be a student. They can confirm it by checking my file.
She agrees to do the test and leads me to the nurse’s office. I sit there with unwelcome thoughts plaguing my mind. My palms are clammy and my heart ready to pop out of my mouth.
The nurse greets me warmly and asks me to take a seat. We chat calmly and casually. She is counseling me, but the conversation isn’t awkward at all. It’s warm and inviting – by the end of it, I still feel nervous but ready to know.
The test takes five minutes. It’s a matter of pricking your finger and dripping blood on a testing strip, much like the one used for a pregnancy test. If the strip shows one line, you are negative. Two lines show you to be positive.
My insides are on fire for the longest five minutes of my life. I realise why so few of us actually take the test. It feels way too traumatic a way to become aware.
She looks at me fondly and I feel safe – though still nervous. My status is revealed. I’m negative. A cry of relief. A promise never to take chances again.


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