I thought it was a formality I should finally take care of.
grown up, because I had never even been tested for HIV at my yearly checkup at Planned Parenthood, where I went for primary care.
Matt never been a good match for me, really; my diagnosis just shined a spotlight on that.
The only bad thing about breaking up with Matt was the realization that I would have to start dating again.
I kept asking the nurse who took me upstairs at the Margaret Sanger Center in the East Village for a second blood test to confirm the rapid test result.
I was in shock that simply sleeping with probably close to a hundred men throughout my 20s — in college, in Rome, Italy where I lived for five years, in New York City upon my return — and not being strict about using condoms could have such a serious consequence.
I grew up during the HIV/AIDS crisis and should have known better, but as a heterosexual woman, I equated safe sex with not getting pregnant more than with getting an STI, let alone HIV. It's embarrassing to admit that now, but I really did ignorantly think sex was all fun and games.