I Was Super Nervous About Getting My First HIV Test, But Here’s Why You Should Get One

Getting tested for any STDs is nerve-wracking, even when you know you’ve been careful and don’t have any symptoms or warning signs. When you go to the gynecologist, they don’t always test for HIV or syphilis unless you have a reason to think you may have contracted it somehow. You might think that testing for that is unnecessary, especially if you’ve taken the necessary precautions, but you should still definitely get tested for HIV if you haven’t.

  1. It can be scary or intimidating, but that’s why it’s so important. In life, when things scare us or make us anxious, it’s usually a sign that they’re important to do. Being nervous about getting an HIV test done is not a reason to avoid doing it; it’s even more of a reason to do it. It’s okay to be afraid but you still need to get it done.
  2. Better the devil you know, as the old saying goes… Sure, ignorance is bliss… for now. It will come back to bite you in the butt, though. You need to be in control of your health and the only way to have complete control is to know where you stand and what you’re up against. Chances are, your results will be negative, but it’s better to be sure about that than to just be hopeful.
  3. The longer you go without testing, the more possible people you could be infecting. Not being tested isn’t an excuse for passing along an STD, and not knowing isn’t the same thing as being clean. You need to get tested to make sure you’re healthy and also to make sure you’re not putting anyone else in danger, even if it is unknowingly.
  4. If you get tested regularly for all STDs, if you do contract one, it’ll be easier for you to pinpoint who may have given it to you. Even if you’re careful and use protection every time you hook up with someone, there may be a time when the condom breaks or you slip up and don’t use one. It happens; people are human and mistakes are inevitable. However, if you get tested regularly, you’ll be way more likely to know when you contracted one if that day ever comes.
  5. HIV can be spread in many ways, and TBH, anyone could be affected by it. You may think that HIV is highly unlikely (or maybe even impossible) for you to contract, but unless you’ve never had sex, you’re wrong. It’s also possible to contract the virus from sharing needles, so if you’ve ever struggled from drug addiction (or dated someone who has), you definitely want to get tested ASAP. You may never have asked your gyno to test you for it because you think that there’s no way that you have it, but next time you go in for a checkup or visit, it would be a good idea to simply get it out of the way and get tested.
  6. Many people who do have HIV don’t realize that they have it. Unless you’re proactive about your sexual health (which you definitely should be), you may never know if you have HIV, at least when you first contract the virus. It’s possible to have HIV for years and have absolutely no symptoms of the disease at all. Unless you’ve been tested and had negative results, you can’t be sure that you don’t have it and it’s better to know than to avoid it.
  7. It’s possible to live a long, healthy life with HIV. There’s no complete cure for HIV, but many people can live long, healthy lives with the virus with the advances medicine has made in this day and age. But, if you don’t know that you have the disease, then you won’t be treated for it, and the disease may be harder to be treated when you’re finally diagnosed.
  8. Getting tested for HIV—and all STDs, in fact—is quick, easy and mostly painless. Sure, getting blood drawn is not the most fun activity in the world, but it takes a few seconds and then it’s over. You might have some minor bruising and have to wear a band-aid for a day, but that’s a small price to pay to know that you’re keeping up to date with the health of your own body.
  9. Being proactive about your health is important. Your body and your health should be important to you; not prioritizing it or continuously putting it off is careless. Be informed and be proactive in all aspects of your health. It’s easier to prevent diseases or catch them early than to avoid dealing with possible illness and trying to make up for it later on in life.
Kerry is a freelance writer from Boston, Massachusetts who now lives in the Sunshine State with the love of her life and her 15 month old daughter. She writes frequently about her personal experiences (find more of her work on www.followmetogetlost.wordpress.com). She has an Etsy shop with cute items: https://www.etsy.com/shop/FollowMeToGetLostWhen she's not writing, she loves to spend time outside, at the beach, and with her family.