After he swabbed my gums, he placed my test in a plastic tube and set a timer. I was then escorted outside to a waiting area where I was left with my thoughts.

No matter how sure you are, when it comes to H.I.V and STD testing, you can never be too sure. I sat down, trying my best to be occupied with the shenanigans of Twitter and Facebook, but for those 20 minutes, nothing anyone posted or Tweeted was important.

I thought back on the men I let in, literally and figuratively. I came to the swift conclusion, none of them are worth the mere anxiety, nervousness or scare of possibly testing positive.

Yes, I have sex, and yes, I use protection, but what if the condom broke and I didn’t know? None of the men I’ve dated were worth those 20 agonizing minutes, or that small voice, that you never know voice.

“Shenequa, what if you go back in that office and Jeffrey tells you something you don’t want to hear? I said to myself. “What are you going to do? How will you tell Char…”

“Shenequa,” Jeffrey interrupted my thoughts. “Your results are ready.”

I walked back in the office, and sat in the same seat as before.

“Shenequa, you tested negative,” Jeffrey said. “There were no H.I.V. antibodies present.”

Jeffrey continued to speak but his voice started to fade as my own thoughts took over. There’s nothing funny or cute about having an incurable STD. Those brief moments of sexual pleasure won’t make up for that lifetime mistake.

In recent years, casual sex has become the norm and unprotected sex is the big secret everyone knows, but doesn’t talk about. It’s like STDs and H.I.V/A.I.D.S don’t scare people anymore. Like, it’s lost its edge!

I’m not hear to T.D. Jakes it out. Nor am I telling you what you need to do in the bedroom, but I use protection and I was scared out of my mind waiting for my results.

I left Jeffrey and headed Uptown to get my hair done. I put my headphones in and listened to some Jazz because it seemed appropriate for the weather.

As I boarded the train, I let out a sigh of relief.




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