If you drag your ass down to the health department, the test is free. It will be eight to ten days before the results are in.
If you go in at a slow time of the year (say, around February 20), you can get in and out in under an hour, unlike the time you came with your mother to get tetanus shots and waited all day only to find out you didn't even need one.
You have to sign a million forms giving them permission to run the test, take your blood, etc.
They will ask you a bunch of personal questions. A few:
They give you free condoms just for coming in.
They won't give you your results over the phone.
- Since 1978, have you donated blood, plasma, or sperm? Hee. You said 'sperm.' No.
- Since 1978, have you been diagnosed as a hemophiliac? No.
- Since 1978, have you taken any non-IV drugs, including alcohol? Yes. Wait, alcohol is a nonintravenous drug? Sucks.
- Since 1978, have you taken any IV drugs? No. Wow. I'm scared of drugs, people.
- Since 1978, have you been sexually active with a man? Yes.
- A male prostitute? Ew. No.
- A female prostitute? Double ew. And no.
- Are you heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual? Homosexual. Wow, that was easy.
I'm sure I learned some other stuff, too, like how to make long boring lists to dissuade oneself from smoking cigarettes and how to participate in a beauracracy without impaling oneself on the nearest coatrack, but that was the basic gist of the afternoon.
The test itself didn't really hurt. It was just a tiny little prick in the arm and it hasn't scarred yet, knock on wood. I have to wait until March 6 to get my results, but as I explained to practically every single person there, I know I'm negative. This is just a precaution, and it's never a bad idea, especially when it's free.