I did a few things at Auckland’s Big Gay Out recently. I ate sixteen of the most amazing donuts. I got a henna tattoo which faded way too fast. I took one taste of some shaved iced and biffed the rest. I also got an HIV and STI checkup, and it couldn’t have been easier!
By ANDY BOREHAM
I was one of seventy people at Big Gay Out to get a full check-up courtesy of the Burnett Centre’s Warrant of Fitness tent, and I have to say that it was easier and more comfortable than I could have imagined!
My regular checkups are usually done courtesy of my doctor, but they don’t have the HIV and syphilis FASTests, which can give you a result within twenty minutes.
The lady and guy I chatted with were extremely helpful, friendly, and supportive, outlining the entire process clearly and then sending me on my merry way. I was upset that I didn’t get a lollipop, though!
I was told from the outset, though, that results wouldn’t be given at Big Gay Out because of counselling issues. “Any positive HIV result has the potential to be deeply upsetting and the NZAF counsellors and psychotherapists felt that a celebratory event like the Get it On! Big Gay Out was not the right environment to receive this news so results were held back for a day,” the New Zealand AIDS Foundation’s Dawn O’Connor told Aaron and Andy.com. “An important part of the NZAF’s testing approach is that testing is linked to support and counselling.”
My results were predictably clear, but it’s still really important to get regular checkups, even if you’re safe. “The only way to be certain about your HIV status is to get tested and to Get it On! with condoms and lube every time you have sex,” Dawn reiterates.
All of the seventy tested at the Burnett Centre tent at Big Gay Out tested negative for HIV, which is just awesome. Dawn says the result was slightly surprising, but great news.
So if you haven’t been checked up recently, or even in the past three months, you should head along to your nearest NZAF centre for a FASTest, or to your local doctor if you’re not near any NZAF outlets or if you feel more comfortable there. It’s so important, and so easy!
You can book your next FASTest online, or by calling 0800 80 AIDS (0800 80 2347).
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