Would You Be Able to Be One of Those HIV Testing Counselors?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 8:02 AM GMT
    I was thinking about this past weekend and it came back to me tonight.

    When I was at LA Pride for the festivities there was one of those HIV rapid testing sites setup at one of the stores. It was some kinda weird thrift store. It looked pretty damn crowded since it was filled with shoppers. I thought this is probably the strangest place to get tested but whatever at least its happening. I walked in to see how they were administrating this testing.

    There were two rooms in the back, the first room was where the testing was administered and the second room was where they went to sit and wait for their results. I saw the test administrator who I think was providing the results as well. He had a volunteer badge/sticker on his shirt. I've been thinking of places where I can volunteer so I thought hmmm.. maybe I could be an HIV testing counselor. I thought about the pros and cons:

    Pro:
    1. You're helping people.
    2. You're helping the gay community and the slutty straight people.
    3. You can probably learn a lot about STIs.

    Con:
    1. You'll have to tell people that they are HIV positive.

    I stopped after the first con. I think I would crumble to pieces if I had to be the one to tell someone they were positive. Particularly looking at the testers, some of which were extremely young. Granted that HIV is more of a chronic disease now than a death sentence. It still can be emotionally devastating. I kept imagining the worst scenario like telling a teenager they are positive and seeing them tear up in fear. If I had to see that I would just die.

    Unfortunately, I don't think I can man up for this job. Imagine doing this multiple times per day? Mad props to the counselors.

    I am sure others in the medical profession have it pretty bad too.

    Would you be able to handle it?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 8:16 AM GMT
    I am one of them.

    It's a very satisfying job to see so many people come in and are curious to get tested, even if they're more certain that they are not infected. I actually got the job/volunteer work through a friend I met at one. It was my first "all gay" conversation about my "fantastic shoes" that prompted us becoming Facebook friends and discussing all about his work and becoming a Doctor with a research in HIV and AIDS testing.

    The con isn't a con to me. It's more of an informational approach on their current status. I'm not looking to date any of these guys even if they are gorgeous. I am there to inform them aboutt their activities that they've participated in within the past months and if they have been safe. Granted, if they were safer and thought about it thoroughly they'd be in a better spot than a caravan-like testing clinic... but I commend them for at least finding out for sure. Even with some of the oral testing, we recommend getting a true blood test through an actual doctor.

    Thanks for the shout out! I appreciate people appreciating us!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 9:38 AM GMT
    It's a very admirable job in my book. I don't know that I could do it.

    This is kind of why I don't enjoy pediatric audiology. There's no training or practice of telling parents that their most valued possession is deficient in a simple human task most of us take for granted. On the brighter side, there's nothing more rewarding than activating an implant on a child and watching the parent's reaction to their child finally hearing their name being called. It's incredible being witness to that.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 11:15 AM GMT
    I would.

    Whenever I get tested the counselors tell me I should become a counselor because I know as much as they know, sometimes more, and flawlessly recite what they've practiced. I mean I'm not smart...I've just gone through the process so many times I'd be completely stupid to not know all the facts.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 11:38 AM GMT
    JB82 saidI would.

    Whenever I get tested the counselors tell me I should become a counselor because I know as much as they know, sometimes more, and flawlessly recite what they've practiced. I mean I'm not smart...I've just gone through the process so many times I'd be completely stupid to not know all the facts.


    Ehm, i'd be afraid to get my test results from you lol, you might make a funny video out of it, leaving me in a total stupor of disbelief lol j/k

    That said, I would be perfectly able to give people this information.. in fact, im almost afraid Id be too cold after all this med studies
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 12:19 PM GMT
    Absolutely. My take on it is that it's better to hear (and tell) the truth in matters of personal health, even when it isn't pretty.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 1:54 PM GMT
    I think I would be good with the younger crowd like 18 to 25
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 3:10 PM GMT
    AvadaKedavra saidYou're helping the gay community and the slutty straight people.


    Dude, please think this through a little more carefully. You want to counsel people about their sexual practices and at the same time you're thinking about them as being "slutty???" FAIL icon_eek.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 3:54 PM GMT
    AvadaKedavra saidCon:
    1. You'll have to tell people that they are HIV positive.


    I don't think I have the hearts to do this. It's too painful icon_sad.gif
    Props to the counselors. Thank you for your strong hearts. icon_smile.gif

    JDuderrr said
    AvadaKedavra saidYou're helping the gay community and the slutty straight people.


    Dude, please think this through a little more carefully. You want to counsel people about their sexual practices and at the same time you're thinking about them as being "slutty???" FAIL icon_eek.gif


    Umm dude it's called sarcasm/joke?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 4:07 PM GMT
    I couldn't do it, I'd be crying more than they would....I hate being the bearer of bad news...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 4:13 PM GMT
    I think over time it would take it's toll on me. Having to tell someone they're life isn't necessarily going to be the same after testing positive. Plus I'd worry about them.

    The flip side is helping educate people on 'safer sex' after they've just tested negative (perhaps after a slip up), and being a messenger of 'good' news.

    Like many others on this forums I watched some of my friends get ravaged by HIV and AIDS in the early 90's. It wasn't pretty seeing vibrant healthy men turn weak and feeble. The impact was profound and something that I'll never forget.

    Someone mentioned HIV as being more chronic than terminal. Perhaps, BUT not something I'd want and what about if /when all medications stop working not to mention the physical toll the medications take on your body including liver and kidneys? Plus having to take your medication at the same time every day no matter what you're doing. I can only imagine how much of a pain in the ass that must be sometimes.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 4:19 PM GMT
    Yes I would, but then again I am HIV+ so I think that would help me (I also volunteered on a gay counselling phoneline for 2 years which would also be beneficial).

    I was thinking of volunteering for the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT). They wanted me to be a facilitator for a group of HIV+ men who had been recently diagnosed. I declined, it would be too much like my work environment (I am a Manager). Still might volunteer for their safer sex campaigns.

    I strongly encourage gay men to volunteer however they can in the gay community. It lets you connect to other gay men in a different way that is very helpful to both yourself and those you are helping.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 4:21 PM GMT
    Oh my Gosh!...... I do like helping people, who doesn't? But I don't know if I can stand seeing people suffer. I don’t know how to describe my feeling, but I felt sort of terribly sad.icon_rolleyes.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 4:42 PM GMT
    Needed more now than before because there is now a since of it not really being big deal anymore even though it is and the stigma that is always attached to it never seems to go away. So yea, I would do it again. Sometimes the hard part is getting people to understand that they do have control. But what really chaps my ass is seeing people after it is done and can't afford the astronomical price of the medication.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 4:51 PM GMT

    To counsel people who are tested positive, it would take a great deal of compassion. I would have serious doubts as to whether at least TWO of the
    above posters have.
    My hat is off to anyone who CAN do this. I know I would become so seriously attached to the counsel-ees that it would probably more than I could handle.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 16, 2011 7:16 PM GMT
    Greenhopper said
    JB82 saidI would.

    Whenever I get tested the counselors tell me I should become a counselor because I know as much as they know, sometimes more, and flawlessly recite what they've practiced. I mean I'm not smart...I've just gone through the process so many times I'd be completely stupid to not know all the facts.


    Ehm, i'd be afraid to get my test results from you lol, you might make a funny video out of it, leaving me in a total stupor of disbelief lol j/k

    That said, I would be perfectly able to give people this information.. in fact, im almost afraid Id be too cold after all this med studies


    I'm a completely different person in reality.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 17, 2011 5:43 AM GMT
    I can too. I have a good ability to make people see the bright side.

    Plus I sense that we're closer to a cure now. I hope.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 17, 2011 5:48 AM GMT
    waimea saidI can too. I have a good ability to make people see the bright side.

    Plus I sense that we're closer to a cure now. I hope.



    "good news and bad news. the bad news is you have hiv but the good news is its a beautiful day and we are closer to a cure! that is going to be $49, cash only."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 17, 2011 5:51 AM GMT
    AvadaKedavra said

    I stopped after the first con. I think I would crumble to pieces if I had to be the one to tell someone they were positive. Particularly looking at the testers, some of which were extremely young. Granted that HIV is more of a chronic disease now than a death sentence. It still can be emotionally devastating. I kept imagining the worst scenario like telling a teenager they are positive and seeing them tear up in fear. If I had to see that I would just die.

    Unfortunately, I don't think I can man up for this job. Imagine doing this multiple times per day? Mad props to the counselors.

    I am sure others in the medical profession have it pretty bad too.

    Would you be able to handle it?



    No. In most cases these kids made a choice and took a risk. If they landed on the shitty side of that risk they need to own that. I could do a job like this and I would be very compassionate but direct about it. Like many situations, it happens, its fucked up, but you make an action plan to minimize (as best you can) the impact it has on your life and you move forward. Making sad faces and feeling guilty about telling some kid he has AIDS won't make him not have AIDS so it is an inefficient use of emotional energy. I am a rape counselor and most of the people I help have come back at some point and thanked me for being understanding, but not coddling them......in a strange way, it gives them a sense of normalcy.....but then again, I recognize that everyone's emotional wall isn't selectively permiable like mine.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 17, 2011 6:02 AM GMT
    I'm a lab technician. I've interacted with many patients who have the full blown disease. What depresses me are the pregnant mothers and unsuspecting wives that have the disease. And oh god the children with this disease...it's awful. People ask me "how can you do this job?". I say, easy...with prayer, drugs and alcohol...they help me sleep! Why are people still getting this disease is what I cannot comprehend. And thanks to Boner pills and people over 50 contracting anykind of STD is alarming!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 17, 2011 6:19 AM GMT
    Yes.

    As a man who has been living with HIV for nearly 27 years, to those who would test positive, I can say with credibility that there is hope and you can still live a long and radically great life.

    And, to those who test negative, I can also encourage them to "miss out" on all of the things that one may encounter by living with HIV that aren't so radically great.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 17, 2011 6:26 AM GMT
    I have to do the "con" pretty often (with more than HIV). The only thing I don't' really do is the "they died" conversation. I'd rather leave that up to someone else for as long as possible
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 17, 2011 7:04 AM GMT
    I think it would feel very rewarding helping people out and educating them about the disease. I remember when I was 15 and went to SAAF(Southern Arizona Aids Foundtion) to help make condom packages for pride. I felt so proud of myself,In a corny way,knowing that I helped some people out that might have been too lazy to go buy condoms lol.

    I don't think I would have a hard time telling people that they are HIV +. I'm pretty good at dealing with very Emotional people, and I'm quite kind & caring. Real Jock is a different story though...lol




  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 17, 2011 9:14 AM GMT
    I wonder if you came into My OTC store in LA/Hollywood. I use to feel the same way as you do.One of my New Years resolutions was too look into doing some type of volunteering. First you have to start off doing Intake. Which is basically checking the people in that are getting tested. Once you've done intake for a couple of months you are elgible to take the One week class to become a certfied tester/counselor. The counseling part is a seperate 2 day class. Honest,,no you are never prepared for reactions for test results but all reactions are different. I think over time it becomes the norm like any other job. I've always been a compassionate person being that I am a (Cancer) zodiac. What I had to learn is that you cant become emotionally attached and like the guy said above know that you are there to provide a sevice and thats it. I enjoy the whole advocacy part of it the most and also meeting people who actually care about their sexual health. Its also nice to see couples str8 or gay that come in together. You should look into it. Feel free to hit me up if you'd like more info.icon_smile.gif