UPDATE: This post was featured on SameSame on Saturday 16th July 2016 in edited form and you can view it here.
I strongly believe that not everyone gets tested as often as they should. I’ve even got friends, some gay, that admit to never being tested. Like, ever. Yes, never ever! And they are my age – twenty-eight! Ok, ok, ok, I’m not twenty-eight, I wish I was. I’m thirty-three. But they say they are sexually active. I simply don’t understand this and if you ask me whether or not I think this is acceptable I would have to say it’s not. But I’m non-judgemental so I guess it’s their choice. I just wont sleep with them. I don’t sleep with friends anyway. None of them will have me.
When I’ve asked them why they don’t get tested, it’s almost like they are clueless about how it all works, the process or they’re just embarrassed.
Well, it’s time for a change. A bloody change I say. If you are one of those people who never, or hardly ever, get tested then you need to change that. If you’re one of those people who are clueless about the process of what happens when you visit a clinic then read on. I’ve decided to give you a first-hand account, step by step, of what happens. Lets say I’m your gay STI angel. Except, I don’t have any STI’s and I’m far from being an angel.
Ok, here go’s…
Date: Tuesday 12th July, 2016.
Location: 16 Marsden Road, Camperdown (Sydney).
Soo here I am sitting in the waiting room of the RPA Sexual Health Clinic with Condoman on the wall & I’m watching that horrific Morning Show program on channel seven which is playing on the TV bolted to the wall. Man, it’s bad. That Larry and Kylie have no, I repeat no, connection and couldn’t be any less funny or fake. They make me cringe.
I’m surprisingly sitting here alone after briefly reporting to reception to let them know that I’m here for my 10am appointment with a big smile – I booked via the phone yesterday morning. Plus I had to update my new address – it’s been a few years since I’ve been here due to the two years living in Melbourne. I’m then asked to wait in the waiting room around the corner, which I do.
There’s free condoms and if apparently if you’re well endowed they have special ones for you behind the reception counter!
After a few minutes another guy enters & sits down not too far from me. Our eyes meet while he sends a laugh in the direction of the TV & mentions how bad it is – I laugh & agree! He knew exactly what I was thinking earlier.
After 5 minutes a woman calls his name & he’s off…it’s his turn! I am 20 minutes early after all so he must have had the appointment before me. Not because I was eager, it’s because I drove & the parking around this area is shit, however I did used to live in Camperdown & know where to park. But yeah, I was still an eager beaver.
I wait. I continue waiting in the waiting room for my turn. My turn to shine & to inform the lovely nurse that the slut is back in Sydney & that I’m in fact I am no longer the slut I used to be. I’ve turned a corner. I’ve seen the light. I wonder if there’s notes on my file warning the team of my slutiness. Doubt it. I believe this centre is frequented by gay men. And as we all know a very high percentage of gay men are sluts. I guess I fit the mould. Damn, here I was thinking I was unique. Better take that off my resume.
Then another guy enters. He’s Asian, definitely gay, maybe mid-twenties and he swiftly pulls out his phone & taps away. Head down. No eye contact. I’m intrigued as to who he is and what he’s done. Or who he’s done. I wonder if we we’ve slept together. It didn’t look like it. But who knows. Not me.
After a few minutes his name is called. The young guy gets up faster than you can say gay sex & power walks out of the waiting room still glued to his phone. The gentleman who called his name gives me a puzzled look and asks my name and says that I’ve been waiting for awhile. I mention that I don’t mind & happy to wait…after all, I was the early one! I hear him mention my name to the two ladies at reception but I miss their response. I continue to wait. I don’t mind. I’m writing this post anyways.
A few minutes go by and I’m greeted by the lovely Clinical Nurse Donna. She’s great and I instantly like her. Within a few minutes of sitting in her office I hope I get her every time I come here. But I’m sure they are all nice. I’m sure I’ll meet them all.
Nurse Donna and I exchange some general chit-chat and then we get to it but first things first I’m asked a series of very non-judgemental questions and it’s beneficial for me to be honest – otherwise why go? How many guys have I slept with over the last three-months? What about the last twelve-months? I provide Nurse Donna with my answers [and none of your bloody business readers!] and then I’m also asked how many times condoms are used during those experiences. I provide her with a percentage answer that I believe to be fair. I’m also told that the centre has a rapid HIV testing available and if I’ve ever gone through that process before. I have. I’ve gone through the process previously at Fitzroy’s Pronto clinic in Melbourne.
Nurse Donna then gives me a brief rundown of what tests will be done today – I already know as this definitely aint my first rodeo – I get checked every three-months and the process really doesn’t change.
First there’s a simple blood test. Nurse Donna does all the work and it’s just like being at the doctors. The prick is in the arm, like usual, and two samples are taken for HIV and Syphilis testing. Then there’s the worst part of the whole process – the part I hate – the throat swab! I hate this part as I have really bad gag reflexes – I let her know. I think she found it amusing. Yes yes yes, I know – I’m a bad gay! However, it’s really quick and all you experienced cock suckers out there will probably have no issues whatsoever.
The throat swab tests for chlamydia and gonorrhoea passed on through oral sex. [No further comments needed].
Then I’m given two things; a cup for urine and a thin stick-like object which looks like a long cotton bud which is for a quick anal swab. I saw quick because I want it to go quick. Yeah, not fun for a top, but worth it in the end. Plus, if you find yourself with your foot up on the sink, bent over and you’re getting really into it then you’re obviously a bottom and having too much fun and you should probably just stop – you’re not here for that!
Both tests are for chlamydia and gonorrhoea but just in different areas. Nurse Donna tells me that I need to fill the cup half-full with the first catchment of piss (my words) and tells me how to take a quick anal swab. Insert and turn in a circular motion. I’ve done this a few times before however there’s now a clear liquid in the anal swab tube where I’m suppose to place the swab in at the end – if you can’t picture this then you’ll see when you get tested next. This is the first time I’ve seen this. Sometimes the nurse or doctor have done the anal swab for me. I roll on my side and they stick it in. Poor them.
But I’m told where the bathroom is and head in that general direction until I find it and lock the door behind me. There’s strangely hand-drawn instructions on how to lock the door from the inside next to the lock. I can only imagine what has happened in the past if this is now needed – lets hope it’s not when a bottom who enjoys the process is giving himself an anal swab. AWKWARD.
Now, I’m pretty sure you don’t need all the intimate details of what then happened inside the bathroom butttt..yess butttt..I’ll give them to you anyways. I open the bag. I pull out the urine cup and hold it over the toilet as I place my dick in it so it catches the first release. I then move the cup away when it’s reached half-full and then finish pissing into the toilet. Screw the top. Well, what I mean by that is I screwed the lid back on the cup and place it back into the clear bag that houses both tests. I then pull out the anal swab and give it a quick once over. I pull down my pants and bend over just enough to make it just that little bit easier. [Insert]. [Circle motion]. Done. I put the swab back into the test tube, break off the end and screw on the lid. Pants up. Belt buckled. Time to head back to the clinical room. Yes – obviously I washed my hands first.
Nurse Donna asks me to put the tests onto the bench and I take another seat. I’m told that I should receive a text message with the test results within a week. If any of the tests come back positive then I should receive a phone call and I’ll come back for more tests. I’m also told that I’m welcome to call if I don’t receive any texts and I can get my results over the phone. Easy.
She also lets me know that there’s a window period for the HIV testing and it will be accurate for the period of six-weeks before today and beyond that. For example, if I’ve contracted HIV within the last six-weeks then it may not show up in these tests and if I’ve had any scares within the six-weeks then I should get re-tested six-weeks from today. Make sense? It did to me. But it’ll be explained to you anyways.
I was then asked if I had any other questions or if there was anything else I wanted to discuss and there wasn’t. Nurse Donna was really good in communicating everything to me and the whole process was easy, stress-free and somewhat entertaining. I made light of some of the processes and we each had a laugh at certain stages. Very important. You have to have a laugh at these types of things. Sure, there’s a serious side to the whole testing and not everyone is lucky enough to get the results they hope for but getting tested more often is easy, there’s nothing to be afraid of, ashamed of or nervous about. The nurses and doctors you meet in these clinics see and hear everything and they are completely non-judgemental. It’s best to be honest, open and upfront about any issues you’re having or any scares you’ve have. Sometimes there’s just a simple solution.
Then it was my time to exit. I was done. I thanked Nurse Donna for her time and then thanked the ladies in reception and then I was outa there! I’m now done until October….unless any of my tests come back with any issues but I highly doubt it. I’m not worried. Except Nigel from up the road better be clean like he told me he was or else. Joking. There’s no Nigel up the road from where I live. I don’t think soo. And if there is I haven’t slept with him. I don’t think.
I highly recommend the RPA Sexual Health Clinic. I highly recommend Nurse Donna. And I certainly highly recommend getting tested. It’s FREE. If you don’t get tested then you shouldn’t be having sex. No matter if you always use condoms like Condoman or if you’ve been in a longterm gay relationship (and let’s face it, a month is considered a longterm relationship with gays, right?). It’s your responsibility. Be responsible.
Book your appointment at the RPA Sexual Health Clinic here or phone them on 02 9515 1200. If you’re in Melbourne I also recommend the Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic and you can find all their details here but be aware – they get very busy! Plus there’s lots of other clinics in every city around Australia.
Keep on sexing. Keep on testing.
Love Shane x
UPDATE: Today, Friday the 15th July, I received the following simple text message from the PRA Sexual Health Clinic to let me know that I’m all clear & negative (keeping in mind the window period). It seriously only took from Tuesday to Friday to get the results back – it’s that simple. Even if you want a rapid HIV & Syphilis test, head in there & get your results in as little as 15 minutes – but again, keep in mind the window period (about 6 weeks) but they’ll discuss that with you during testing.
*If any of the health information listed above is incorrect please email me and I will make the necessary changes. I’m no doctor or nurse. I would HATE to be giving out the wrong information. But I’m also not perfect.