Mina Button's blog

kink and feminism and stuff…formerly known as Absinthe Cocktail.

Archive for December, 2012

Not getting tested…

Posted in Uncategorized on December 1, 2012 by

One of the very first posts I wrote was about getting STI testing done for free at a club.  Since then, a lot of things have changed.  Mainly, I have insurance now.  Also, though Garnet does things with other people, I am more or less monogamous these days.  Like, for realz (except for briefly making out with one of our friends at the end of the summer, but still…that’s pretty monogamous).

So in August, after a period so bad I couldn’t get out of bed, and the horrible bout of PMS that almost ruined Floating World, I decided it was time to go to the gynecologist and get myself some damn hormonal birth control already.  I asked around for a good queer-friendly doctor, got some recommendations, and made an appointment.  

I was also pretty excited to get some STI testing out of the way, since I was kind of overdue.

Now, when I wrote about free testing at the party…part of the reason it’s free is because it’s scientific research.  Part of the deal is that you answer an incredibly comprehensive questionnaire about your recent sexual activity while your HIV rapid test processes.  So I sat in a tiny room with a stranger for 45 minutes and talked about being pierced, fisted, and various other activities.  The dude administering the test didn’t even bat an eye at any of my answers.

Cut back to the actual doctor’s office.

We talked about testing.  The doctor ran down a list.  Chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, syphilis…plus a pap smear.  Great fantastic.  All good stuff.  Except…”Um, what about HIV?” I asked.

“When were you last tested?”

“About a year ago.”

“Have you possibly been exposed since then?”  I thought about it.  I hadn’t had sexual contact with anyone except Garnet and Roderick in over a year…but Garnet was regularly having sex with their other significant other, and their OSO was doing things with other people and I knew at least once he didn’t use barriers with someone…and isn’t this exactly the sort of thing they scare you with in health class?  But both Garnet and their OSO had tested negative for everything since then, so…”No,” I said, “I don’t think so.”

“Well then I don’t think we need to do an HIV test today,” the doctor said.

I was very confused, but I pressed on.  ”What about herpes simplex virus?” I asked.  Again the doctor said we could skip that one.  ”But my partner has HSV 1,” I said (which is true, though Garnet takes stuff to suppress outbreaks and has only had, like, two in the year and a half we’ve been together, it seemed like relevant information for my doctor to have).

“Have you had any sores?”

“Well, no, but…”

“If you haven’t had any sores there isn’t any point in testing for it.”  Which…um…HSV can be contagious even if it’s asymptomatic.  But you have to do a blood draw to test for it if someone’s not, like, in the middle of an outbreak…so.  Yeah.  Anything that involved bloodwork the doctor seemed to have decided I didn’t need.  Weird.

So I got my pap smear (yay no cancer!), and swabbed and tested for the other stuff listed above, and I found out my uterus is a little tilted and my vagina is shallow and I got a prescription for a NuvaRing, which has helped my cramps immensely but only made my PMS slightly better every month.

But…I’m still a little confused at basically being refused an HIV test.  Like, HIV testing is important, right?  And a nice, fancy doctors’ office on the Upper East Side is supposed to be…better somehow than getting tested in the back of a kind of grubby club in Chelsea, right?  I mean, I was desperately overdue for a pap smear, but otherwise…the testing at the club was a much better experience.