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Why should you get tested for HIV? Lindsey talks about that here!

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Host: Dr. Lindsey Doe

Directing/Filming/Editing: Nicholas Jenkins

Titles: Michael Aranda

Executive Producer: Hank Green
Lindsey Doe: When I got to college and saw an advertisement for free anonymous HIV testing at the campus health clinic, I made an appointment.  Why not?  I was 18, ambitious, and ready to know my status.  

(Sexplanations intro)

Lindsey: When I showed up, I shared with a counselor my risk behaviors and got my blood drawn.  Then, I was given a code to use when I returned a week later to get the results, and go over my risk reduction plan.  My results were non-reactive, meaning that the test didn't detect antibodies specifically designed to fight HIV in my body.  Had they found them, the test would have come back reactive.  A few years later, my grad school professor recommended that I go through the HIV counseling testing and referral services certification.  A two-day training which would teach me how to administer an HIV test and give results, reactive or not.  I did it.  And for the next three years, I worked really hard to test as many people in my community as I could.  This was my first experience with one-on-one counseling, and it was amazing to assess peoples' risks and help them reduce them.  This experience was the seed for me as a clinical sexologist.  I highly recommend it to any of you looking to be sexologists.

I learned about what people were doing with their bodies, sex and drugs.  I learned about unilateral monogamy, bug chasing, being on the down-low, and humanity.  Every story was unique and helpful to my understanding of sexuality, but it wasn't all for me.  People needed to talk about how we put ourselves at risk for love, passion, intimacy, or some other payoff.  They needed a place to acknowledge how we assume our HIV status is negative, we default to nope, I don't have it, even though we don't have a test to confirm this.  No amount of twitterpation, commitment, no diamond ring, no promise, is going to confirm someone's HIV status.  Things don't guard against HIV either.  HIV doesn't care if you're in it for the long haul or if you've only been with one person, it doesn't care if your genitals are beautiful or if you take lots of showers.  HIV simply needs access to the immune system.  The immune system cells are the ones that it targets, it sends HIV RNA into the immune system cells and uses that body as a factory to replicate itself, making copies and copies and copies.  Blech.  In this situation, the immune system doesn't win.  Sure, a virus is attacking and the immune system responds, but it's being taken over by something that feasts on every line of defense our body has.  HIV wins.

Well, it used to.  It used to be that HIV compromised the immune system leaving the body vulnerable and helpless to an infection takeover.  Now, though, HIV doesn't blemish your life expectancy.  People with the virus can live as long as they would without it, provided they detect it and get treatment before it progresses to the final stage, AIDS, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.  This is reason number one to get tested.  You can save your valuable Sexplanations watching awesome increasing super self.  

The second is that knowing your HIV status reduces transmission to others.  It keeps you accountable in a really cool way, regardless of whether or not you're HIV positive or HIV negative, you are going to be more considerate of yourself and others.  

Number three, you bust the stigma.  By getting tested regularly, you are modeling to people that this is something important and normal.  Reason four and the last one I'll give is that there are testing sites where knowledge of your HIV status comes to you at no cost.  You can find our your results in the time that it would take you to watch a How I Met Your Mother episode, and you don't have to get stuck by a needle.  

I guess the reason is given the advantages of knowing your status and the lack of barriers to it, why not?  Because you could be HIV positive?  Yep.  It's such a real possibility if you've had sex, shared needles, exchanged blood, or breastfed.  These are called the modes of transmission.  Piercing parties, no condom, blackout drunk and can't remember, if you don't know your HIV status, I want you to get tested.  

(Sexplanations endscreen)