I didn't have a lot of time last Sunday (AIDS Day) for a big "speech," so you're going to get it now :)
It was also being rather apathetic last week. Seasonal? Semester end? I'm not sure, but I was having a tough time mustering energy for just about anything. I'd been asked to go an "Interfaith Celebration of Hope" here on behalf of my organization. That was lovely (I'm not a big church person).
The next day, I ended up going to another similar service that's help on my campus, and has been for the last 26 years. Now, I'm not claiming it made the difference, but i also sat for a bit with a latte prior to that. It might have also been the Tony Kushner reading. But I left that program feeling a whole let less apathetic. I've been feeling more focused all week, that's definitely good.
One thing I didn't have a chance to do in the midst of all this (and wrapping up the semester!) was to stop for a test. Ok, here's a big admission - I've never had the oral swab before. So yesterday, during testing hours, I stopped down at the center between classes and meetings. I figured that for all I talk about (and strongly believe in) testing as a major tool of prevention, it was about time I walked the walk too.
It is absolutely as quick and painless as they say. There is no blood or needles (I so don't do needles!) It didn't cost me a penny (or anything else). I felt entirely respected and empowered. And it sure made me feel good to get a good result, even though I've had less than no reason to think otherwise.
So this is going to be my pledge: I pledge to get tested every year during World AIDS Week, whether I think there's any reason for me to or not. I hope you will do the same. It doesn't have to be AIDS Week or HIV Testing Week (which occurs in June) or Pride month or any other specific time. Just pick a time of year that works for you, and stick to it (as best you can, of course). Maybe encourage others to go too, a friend or partner for support or a whole group. You'll be glad you did!