HIV (False) Positive: I Spent A Week Thinking I Had HIV

by Theresa Milah

New York City: the playground for the dreamers, the determined and the hustlers. This is the real life Peter Pan land filled with horny kids, lost souls and functioning alcoholics, where no one wants to grow up.

The majority of people think they are still young, energized and invincible. I won't deny that I was a lost soul and experienced my fair share of promiscuous nights, all-night binges and partied until the sun came up. But when it came to my sexual partners and whom I let into my life, I always played it safe and wrapped it up.

This year has been a roller coaster; I ended a serious relationship, I started my own company and I moved out of the great city (temporarily). After my relationship, I was very anti-guys and placed all of my focus on me. Since I was 16, I always had a significant other in my life, so I decided this time around to take a break.

Stressed and exhausted with the craziness of my company and my move, I wanted to relive my 21-year-old nights and go out with a bang for my last weekend as an NYC resident.

So, in true form, I had my last supper at my favorite Mexican place in Park Slope, bar hopped in Williamsburg and then ended the night by dancing at my favorite club -- the same club where I had a physical attraction to the club manager, whom I was speaking with, casually.

We both exchanged our wild nights stories and sexual escapades, but his were on a different level to which I couldn’t relate. Granted, my choice wasn't the best choice, he was there, and I settled with him as my last NYC fling. Unfortunately, and as the story goes, the condom broke.

Flash forward to three months later, I decided to get a physical and my doctor asked if I wanted to get tested. I agreed since it’d been a few months since my last appointment. Strangely enough, my physical was a week before club manager was scheduled to visit me in my hometown.

A week after my appointment, my doctor called and wanted to discuss my results in person, and we all know that’s not a good sign. Before she even said any words, I wiped the tears off my face and the words came out: "You are HIV positive." My world literally stopped; I couldn’t move.

She told me three tests needed to be done in order to confirm whether or not I had the virus, and there was the possibility of a false positive.

After being calmed by my close friends, I called my ex boyfriend and the club manager. My ex boyfriend handled it well and was confident because we got tested before we got into a relationship.

The club manager, on the other hand, was frantic and instantly said, “I have to call her.” Funny because when we spoke last, he said he wasn’t seeing anyone. Then the truth came out. As expected, his trip to visit me was out the window.

Both partners went to get tested within 24 hours of speaking, and both came back to me and they were negative. I lost sleep, didn’t eat and couldn’t stop crying. Nothing made sense, so my best friend suggested I get a second opinion. I wanted answers, results and I wanted them fast.

The next morning I went to the Health Department clinic and explained my situation. They too agreed and said it doesn’t make sense. The counselor instructed that the tests doctors use aren’t always efficient, as they can be outdated and have room for error.

She agreed to draw my blood and assured me since it was with the Health Department, their labs and tests are the most up-to-date.

This all happened within a span of six days, the longest days of my life. The counselor knew I was impatient so she was able to rush my lab tests. Wednesday, October 22 is a day I will never forget. I got the phone call and she confirmed: I am negative.

I swear I never screamed that loud, cried that intensely or smiled that hard. This was my wake-up call and my second chance. Never again will I settle for whatever comes my way or those who aren't worthy of my time.

Shortly after, I received the news from my primary doctor, and she, too, confirmed it was negative. According to her, there are many factors that could have played into the positive test: outdated equipment, lab mistakes or my kidney failure, which effects my immune system.

As my doctor confessed, "I don't know why it came back positive, but you are negative and you do not have the virus." What I do know is I never want to relive my 21-year-old nights or flings ever again.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It