In the context of this entry, the merit is in being negative.
This post is a little late. Had wanted to post it to coincide with World AIDS Day 2011 on 1 December but it’s a hard post to write. After all, getting a HIV test is not something to broadcast considering the stigma that surrounds it. It’s easy to say when you’re negative. But what if the result is positive? What does one do then?
I was asked this question during a pre-test interview. My answer was to carry on living because it’s not the end of the world but now I know I have to be careful not to infect others.
I got tested not because I’m a periwinkle snail (believed to be nature’s sluttiest animal with females having around 19 males fertilising her while the guys will fornicate with just about anything in their path including wrong snail species), but as part of an annual health profiling. Plus it’s sort of a gift of love.
Previously, I had my tests done in Singapore. Not with the annonymous testing services provided by DSC Clinic at Kelantan Lane, but part of a health screen package offered at private clinics.
However, I came across the Bangkok charter of the Thai Red Cross online not too long ago and decided to check it out. It offers HIV testing for both locals and foreigners. This post will document the experience with directions on how to get there and what to expect.
The Bangkok Thai Red Cross is located pretty close to the downtown district of Silom. It’s about 2 BTS stop from Sala Daeng BTS Station which is at the famous Patpong go-go bars district. Here’s how to get to there :
1. Take BTS to Ratchadamri Station.
2. Take Exit 1, the side with a huge green field of the The Royal Bangkok Sports Club golf course.
3. Walk in the direction of S2 (refer to Area Map above) which is along the golf course for about 10 – 15 minutes.
4. You’ll reach the entrance the Thai Red Cross. It’s along the road and very prominent with a watch tower.
The following photos will highlight key sights leading to Thai Red Cross, Bangkok.
At the Bangkok Thai Red Cross, AIDS antiretroviral drugs can also be bought for a fraction of the price they cost in Singapore. AIDS patients can get a prescription filled out at Singapore’s Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) and buy the cocktail medications there in person, via a family member or friend. Basically, they don’t have to be there in person in the event they are too weak to travel.
The staff at the centre were really VERY friendly. I was feeling rather uncomfortable and awkward to do a test, and I’m foreigner, but they are ever ready to help. The whole process took about 2 hours which involved filling out a form, letting them scan my passport (so it’s not annonymous although they say it is), going for pre-test counselling by a doctor, drawing blood, and then meeting the doctor again for the result. I can’t remember the female doctor’s name but she was so really nice!
The result is communicated orally but if you want the doctor to issue a certificate of the outcome, it costs another 20bht (I think). Also, they call out your number for testing in Thai but not to worry, if yo sat there clueless like me, the nurse will come and get you. I had the luck of having an English speaking Thai next to me who told me it’s my number they called. The trick is to flash your queue slip prominently for all to see!
AIDS is not a joking matter. But being HIV positive is not a joking matter. Like any chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc, AIDS can be controlled with antiretroviral drugs and patients go on to live productive lives. However, this is not an encouragement for unprotected sex.
I recently heard the news from a friend that an acquaintance contracted HIV. And that
bastard acquaintance continues to sleep around, sometimes insisting on unprotected sex.
So be cautioned. Always USE A CONDOM no matter how drunk or in the heat of the moment you are. Play safe. And get tested.
It’s the best love letter to someone you care about.