Last week I went to the doctor for my routine annual exams and physical. For all accounts, I’m a healthy, strapping, middle aged man. Standing over six feet tall and weighing roughly 195 lbs, I’m living my best life and should continue to do so for many more years.

In addition to checking the health of my liver, kidneys, cholesterol and other levels in my blood work, the doctor asked if I wanted to include an HIV test.

“Sure, Doc, go ahead,” I replied.

It had been a couple years since my last HIV test but, although I’m a Black Gay man living in Atlanta, I’m what medical professionals call a “low risk candidate.” I don’t do hookups and I’m mad selective on who I make ‘the beast with two backs’ with. And even then, we use protection. Not a guarantee, but condoms definitely reduce the chances of infection when compared to “breeding it raw.”

My blood work came back as expected…until I scrolled down to the HIV results:

So…”Reactive” means negative, right?

I jumped on the Internets and opened up dozens of tabs searching for what the fuck Labcorp was really trying to tell me. Every link, article and message board said what I feared, “Reactive” means that HIV antibodies were detected in the blood. Which means, the subject had been exposed to HIV and started building up antibodies to (unsuccessfully) fight the virus infection.

I looked at that LabCorp shit again like:

I immediately dug into my old text threads and sent a “sup” message to the last dude I had sex with. After some pleasantries and catching up, he informed me that he is now “poz” and on meds.

But, he assured me, he had become positive long after we were together.

And while he had me on the line, he wanted to know would I be open to dating someone who was positive?

“First off, yes I would…But I’mma seriously need to get back to you, bro.”

I went back to the Internets and typed: “Can HIV be immaculately conceived like baby Jesus?”

Surprisingly, no results. But I did read on the CDC website that false positive results are EXTREMELY rare and that the current testing is 99.6 percent accurate.

Then my phone rang. It was my doctor’s office requesting to see me first thing in the morning. Oh damn, they want to tell me the news in person.

This is when I really freaked out. I called my ma dukes and texted Ocky Williams, basically accepting my fate: I had become an Atlanta Black gay HIV Statistic without even getting the benefit of the inhibition-lowered regret sex.

The next morning, my doctor sat me down in the small patient room and said, “Do you know why I called you back here?”

I lifted my head high, puffed out my chest and just stared at him:

“You tested HIV positive,” he said, looking down at his charts. “The lab found HIV antibodies in your blood sample. But when they tested for HIV antigens, that’s the HIV virus itself, they didn’t find anything. It came up negative. So they retested for the antibodies again, and those results came up negative as well.”

Wait, what?

“I think it was a false positive the first time. And as you saw further down on your lab results, their final interpretation was that you were HIV negative as well.”

Wait. Further down on the lab results? Oh, you mean all this medical technobabble that I totally missed?

My doctor took more blood to do the same tests again, as well as completely separate tests to further confirm my status. These were the results:

So for anyone that lost track:


That was probably the headline I should have made for this post, but baits need to be clicked.

Apparently the chances are getting a false positive result (while it does happen to some) is very rare:

So what have I learned from all of this?

I learned that I should read more good. I might have saved myself a lot of aggravation had I really read through the results in full.

And I learned that I should seriously consider Truvada (aka PrEP) to further protect myself from scares like this in the future. Even for someone like myself who doesn’t have wild ‘black gay web series’ sex all the time, I am def a freaky dude when I do…and all it takes is one time.

As for the poz dude who asked if I would be open to dating him:

We lost touch for legitimate reasons that had nothing to do with his HIV status.