Taking care of your health is more adult than playing house with a boyfriend, yet, even though I had been tested for STIs, I had never thought of getting an HIV test.
But one day, randomly, I added the HIV rapid test to the list of things to do before intake to my pap smear appointment.
I had no type, no goal, really, and a bad one-night stand was just as much as fun as one that turned into a mini-romantic fling.
But when you're the kind of person who equates dating with dinners, drinks, and casual sex, HIV can put a real damper on all that. Not only was I still trying to figure out what living with HIV meant, I couldn't just do that whole "put on your high heels and get back out there" thing that most newly single people do.
Dating with HIV, seriously or casually, is hard — even though it doesn't have to be.
There was a positive aspect to my HIV, though I didn't know that then.
It woke me up and made me realize what I needed and wanted from a partner.
I kept asking the nurse who took me upstairs at the Margaret Sanger Center in the East Village for a second blood test to confirm the rapid test result.
I was in shock that simply sleeping with probably close to a hundred men throughout my 20s — in college, in Rome, Italy where I lived for five years, in New York City upon my return — and not being strict about using condoms could have such a serious consequence.
When a person goes on treatment — I take one pill a day — undetectable is the goal.
Staying on treatment and keeping my viral load at undetectable levels means that I'm going to lead a long healthy life.
Matt never been a good match for me, really; my diagnosis just shined a spotlight on that.