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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » nervous about getting an HIV test (possible sexual assault triggers)

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Author Topic: nervous about getting an HIV test (possible sexual assault triggers)
thumb tack
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six years ago, I left my abusive ex boyfriend. When we first got together two years earlier, me and him both went to the clinic together to get tested for STIs. I had all the tests done, and came back negative for everything, he told me he was negative for everything too. I don't know how truthful he was, but I am fairly sure that he cheated on me during our relationship. He coerced me into having unprotected sex several times during our relationship even though I insisted on using condoms.

After I broke up with him, I had a really hard time dealing, and I engaged in really risky sexual behaviour: going to bars, getting drunk, and going home with strangers and having sex. I was sexually assaulted three times in the following months. I know this is not a place where I have to justify this claim, but I feel like I need to anyways. I feel like I hear these situations referred to a "grey rape" a lot, and I don;t fell like there's anything "grey" about them. The first guy, I don't remember having sex with, but I certainly felt like something had been (rough) in my vagina when I woke up. I asked him if we had sex and he said no, I asked if he used a condom and he didn't answer. The second guy, I consented to have sex with, but when he started getting rough I told him to stop (he was wearing a condom). He called me a tease and a bitch and raped me. The third guy, I also consented to, but he lied to me and told me was using a condom. I stopped him halfway through and he wasn't wearing one, I left.

After this, I thankfully came to my senses and realized how dangerous that had been. I waited three months and went to and STI clinic and asked to be tested for everything. The nurse asked me why I wanted to be tested and I lied and told her I was getting into a new relationship and just wanted to be safe. She asked me if I had ever had unprotected sex and I said no (I was too ashamed to admit that I had been raped and abused by 4 guys). She told me I didn't need and HIV test, that they are expensive and should be done for no reason, and didn't give me one. She tested me for everything else and I came out negative.

Shortly after that I met my current boyfriend. I told him everything I just wrote up here (except I told I had unprotected sex, not that I had been sexually assaulted, I didn't realize this was assault until later on). He had also had unprotected sex with a girl before we met. We agreed to use condoms until we could go get tested (waiting three months), but somehow, we never did go get tested. We have had unprotected sex, although only about a half a dozen times since we met, otherwise we always use condoms.

I've been living with this for over five years now and it's eating me alive. Every time I hear anything about HIV or AIDS it takes me weeks to stop thinking about it and I often have nightmares. I'm so ashamed of myself for not only behaving how I did, but for being so irresponsible about risking infecting others. I'm terrified of finding out that I might be positive, and I'm terrified that I might have infected my boyfriend, or that he might have infected me. What I don;t understand, is I recently told my boyfriend of my fears (it's not the first time he hears it) and I asked him if he ever thought about it and if he was worried. He said no. I don't understand why he isn't worried, all I can think of is maybe he didn't have sex ed, or maybe he had abstinence only sex ed (we grew up in different parts of the country and I'm not sure how it works where he is from). I know I'm not being paranoid: there have been several real risks.

Ever since that nurse refused to give me the test, I've felt like on some level maybe I didn't deserve a test because of my actions. I know that I was assaulted and it's not my fault, but I have trouble forgiving myself for going to bars and getting drunk like that in the first place and putting myself in dangerous situations. I have trouble forgiving myself for not insisting on the test when the nurse turned me down. I have trouble forgiving myself for not getting tested when I met my boyfriend, or at anytime in the last five years. As I write I know how ridiculous it must sound. If I was reading this I would totally not blame this person for any of this, I would tell her she has been victimized not only by the guys who did this to her, but also by the nurse. but I do blame myself!

I finally managed to get the courage to get myself tested, and I know I won't take no for an answer this time. I go on Friday morning, and I'm soooo scared.

I just wanted to hear (read) a friendly voice before I go. thanks

[ 01-11-2012, 07:57 PM: Message edited by: thumb tack ]

Posts: 126 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Redskies
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I'm not really your person for the medical stuff, but I did just want to be an extra friendly voice for some of the rest of it.

It doesn't sound to me like you were irresponsible with other people. You gave your boyfriend the information important to his health, and he made his own decisions about what to do. I really believe that you fulfilled your ethical obligations there and have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

With going to bars and getting drunk, the only thing you would have put yourself in "danger" of was waking up in a heap on the pavement the next day feeling ill. It took other people actively doing you harm to cause you danger in the ways you experienced. That danger only existed because of the existence of people who assaulted you, not because of anything you did. You don't have anything to forgive yourself for.

I can imagine that that experience with the nurse would have been difficult and distressing. It's really, really common for people who haven't yet healed from assault/abuse to not be able to mention it and to feel ashamed of it. It's not your fault that you couldn't tell her; it's just one of the effects of abuse. And it can be difficult to disagree with a person who's in a position of power with more technical knowledge, like a medical person, particularly when we've been abused - I'm not surprised you couldn't insist on a test. I think you have nothing to reproach yourself for about that. None of this means that you don't deserve a HIV test. You absolutely deserve a test.

And none of what you write sounds ridiculous to me, at all. I do the same myself: that is, I think and write things that I Know would be different if I was reading it from someone else, and yet I still feel that way.

I think it's really strong of you to do this now, and I'm happy that you're taking care of your health and resolving this for yourself.

I hope it helps a little to read the things that you know are true, but somehow can't quite make yourself completely believe.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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thumb tack
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Thank you redskies, it does help [Smile]
Posts: 126 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
September
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Redskies already said a lot of really great and true stuff, and I am glad to hear that helped you some.

Reading your story reminded me of my own story a little bit. I went to get tested after I had been raped by a then-friend, who was an alcoholic and habitual drug user. This actually compounded my fears, because I knew that he took lots of risks with his health when he was drunk or high. When I went to the doctor's office, she wanted to know why I wanted to get tested, and I simply told her that I had had unprotected sex. She replied that I didn't need to get tested, then - unless I'd been raped or slept with a junkie, there was no reason to think I'd been exposed to anything. This made me burst into tears, but I did not have the words to advocate for myself and I eventually left without getting a single test done.

I blamed myself for all of that, too. For getting raped in the first place, for not standing up for myself, for not taking care of my health. I told my new partner that I had not been tested, but when he did get tested and showed me the results, I felt like I was being a horrible partner. It took me a while, but eventually I worked up the courage to go to the health department and get an HIV test done.

All of this is to say, you are not alone in this. It sucks, to be victimized and then be victimized again by the very people who are supposed to help you. I also, for the life of me, cannot understand how any serious health professional can turn patients away who are just trying to take care of their health, for whatever reason. You did not deserve ANY of this.

It's awesome that you're getting tested now, and I'll keep you in my thoughts. Best of luck!!

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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thumb tack
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Thank yo both for your kind words of encouragement. I went and got it done, and I feel as though a huge load has been lifted off my shoulders. No matter what happens, at least I'm moving forward now. Now I guess I wait for the results...
Posts: 126 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Good on you! And I know that wait blows, but you'll get through it.

At least it's not a 1990-style-long wait, where we also had to walk backwards in the snow for our test results and... [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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September
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Glad to hear you got the test done! That's great. [Smile]

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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coralee
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thumb tack, I am glad you got that HIV test and I understand how hard it can be to get the STI tests you need (and deserve!) when the medical professional who is supposed to help you is less than 100% supportive. I went to get STI tests a few months after ending a relationship where I had unprotected sex against my will, and I was offered tests for only Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and HIV. I had to insist on being tested for other STIs even though I was told it was "unnecessary". Although I insisted on getting certain tests done I didn't end up getting all the ones done I wanted until more than a year later, when I finally had enough courage to demand those additional tests. You would think that medical professionals would do nothing but cheer you on and support you in doing something healthy like getting a full STI screening [Frown]
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thumb tack
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I got the results: NEGATIVE!!! woohoo!

Thanks to everyone who shared stories and gave me support, you peeps are gold, just so you know [Smile]

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Heather
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[Big Grin]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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coralee
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Great! What a relief [Smile]
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Saffron Raymie
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What totally awesome news thumbtack! Well done for being so extremely brave with all this. [Smile]

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'Obtain the virgin's consent before you marry her' - Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)

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