I just finished watching Girl Positive on Lifetime. I had no idea it would make my mind so crazy.... It brought back so many memories of my days working at Planned Parenthood...
Before I came to Ship, I used to work for Planned Parenthood as a Health Care Assistant. After working with them over many months, I had the opportunity to become trained as an HIV tester/counselor. I am able to draw blood, a very desirable skill as the results can go through even fewer hands (orasures and rapid tests were still pretty expensive at this point so they were mainly doing blood tests). The training was intense, 3 full work days of just plain HIV knowledge and terminology followed by shadowing for a good long while before you work alone. Then the real fun began.... role playing... Giving the whole generic speech about prevention, wearing gasloshes in the rain and getting retested in 6 months... blah blah blah... very easy, right? Unless you are a tester who gets someone that is positive... The ballgame changes pretty quickly then... I was only 21 at the time and had no clue how in the world I could even deliver such awful news. Sure, people live long lives now... this is not a death sentence...all of the new crap people say to make people feel better... This is still life altering, it's with you forever, and the drugs make you sick as a dog. How do you tell a young person that their life is radically different forever...that there is no fix, and yes that 1 mistake has changed everything. What if they start crying? I had no idea how I'd react and no role play in the world would EVER change that. I was lucky. In the time I was doing testing, I never had a positive person. I got to smile at them with good news and a bag of condoms. A quick stern warning about risky behaviors and a see ya in 6 months! I was lucky, but wow...just the thought sends chills up and down my spine.
I miss it there. It was tough work but I learned more about life and other people in that year than I have in the rest of my life.
If you have the chance you watch this movie, do it. It may make you want to chain up your kids in the basement, but its relatively realistic in its social aspects and the way things can spread in a high school (not so much in the HIV/AIDS testing process). And while I have your attention, wear condoms damnit...and get tested.