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It's World AIDS Day, Get Tested

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Photo by PjotrP via Flickr

Photo by PjotrP via Flickr
So I have this long-standing date every November. I'm not meeting her for drinks, she's not that sexy nor will she kiss me when it's all over. What the hell kind of date is this? It's my annual trip to get tested for STDs, whether I've been naughty or nice, frisky or monogamous.

It's a stance I've taken since starting college. That's because I believe that if everyone got tested on a regular basis, the spread of disease would decrease. And if I'm going to believe that, I better walk that talk.

Over the years, I've been through plenty of testing situations: the college health office, my personal doctor, the LA County free clinic and just to be "so L.A." about it, Adult Industry Medical (AIM) Healthcare Foundation where I am considered a "civilian," not a pornstar.

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Does it matter where you choose? At the county's free clinic, expect agonizing three-hour waits followed by a three-week turn around time for results--hey, welcome to free healthcare. Over at AIM, you're in and out, usually within a half hour, although with less cash in your pocket (they are a non profit, so it's considered a donation for tax purposes). Results will come one to two days later and you get to choose how to receive the info--in person, by e-mail, telephone?

Choices, choices.

"Los Angeles County has the second largest AIDS epidemic in the country," said AIDS Project Los Angeles Executive Director Craig E. Thompson after Governor Schwarzenegger cut 80% of AIDS funding in the state. "California was... a model for other states nationwide in HIV/AIDS care and treatment."

Add to that this: "an estimated 7,000 Californians are expected to become HIV-infected," noted Lorri L. Jean, CEO of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center in Hollywood after the budget cut.

Various events (.pdf) have been happening around Los Angeles today, most notably is the one at The Wall Las Memorias tonight at 7 p.m. on the Eastside.

So whatever you choose to do, Los Angeles, we hope you stay safe and conscious of your choices.

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