The Emotional Truth of HIV Testing

by Liam Scheff
for RTB

In my eight and a half years of reading about HIV testing, I’ve yet to find a single piece of the published medical record that brought me to believe that HIV tests were anything more than a public farce, a poly-reactive, non-specific hoop that the chosen unlucky are led to leap through, as a punishment for their presumed lifestyle or skin color.

Bu I see the value of the test, nonetheless. Yes, it tests for no specific thing. Yes, it tests for almost everything. But the presumption of the test – in the public and private mind – is that it secures or forbids you for sexual liberty, or performance ‘à volonté‘ in the culture.

A ‘clean’ HIV Test result means that you can be a libertine, or at least “liberated” in the Western sense, leaning on pharmaceuticals to prevent pregnancy, and following no known rule or guide to safe, or emotionally conscious behavior. You can be a lout, a whore, a scoundrel, a trollop, a slut, a dilettante, a flirt, a ‘Carrie’ (a la ‘Sex in the City,’ exploring the world with your gonads, at will and at leisure, suffering only a heart broken so lightly that it mends by the next episode). So we’re told.

This is the great Western cultural lie, that once sex was removed from pregnancy (or pregnancy from sex) by chemical candy (those birth control pills, arrayed in their round, pink Pez dispensers, to be taken for years and years without pause)….that sex, once removed from ancient eternal biology somehow lost its meaning, its natural outcome, and its sting.

How naive were these libertines to think that the ancient mind would let go of its Levitical impositions? We were taught to believe that the old prohibitions had no value – they were the wretched chains of a by-gone era. We shrugged them off and embraced desire, and each other, willy-nilly, and without consequence. But with consequence. With alienation, and depravity, and empty hollowed out eyes and souls, like ghouls, like syphilitics throwing themselves into another Roman orgy, knowing they can’t be made any worse at the end.

And so HIV tests emerged, following the great drug and STD plague that was the payment in full of the liberated ’60s and ’70s. The tests were derived from the mixed blood and tissue of many men bearing many illnesses. They have been refined to consensus agreed synthetic proteins, which cling to proteins in your blood; they will adhere to almost any naturally-occurring antibody to any infectious or non-infectious particle entering the bloodstream. And so we use them carefully – only on those with guilty consciences or punishable skin color or orientation, who wish or agree to be reprimanded for their sexual sins.

That is how HIV testing works – and it does work in that sense. We need it to keep us believing in some limit to libidinousness. The science of it, the technical reality of it is all a sham, but that doesn’t matter at all.

What matters is our belief in the angry God who punishes us for our sexual misconduct. We need a code of rules. We need a rule of law. We have one. It’s that simple. “HIV tests” test for no specific particle, that is not reasonably contestable. But they do test for one specific thing: Fear, guilt, and a need to do penance for our disembodied chemical libertinism.

And so, what can we ask for? A return to an open prohibition against too much lust? A manageable punishment for over-indulgence, instead of this life-long drugged-to-death hate-fueled sham called “AIDS?” In that case…

Long live Leviticus. Down with HIV testing. (Except no sane person wants Leviticus back – and so we keep the technical version).

The truth is what it has always been: We’re all sinners, but only some of us have to pay the angry God to sooth our anxious, tribal soul.

4 thoughts on “The Emotional Truth of HIV Testing

  1. Good points Liam, very good stuff. However though, I found it to be a bit esoteric. I would have prefaced or referrenced the early work of Ian Young, Matt Irwin and Casper Schmidt found on the “AIDS Cult” section of or on

    “The HIV testing ceremony is highly ritualized, demanding a visit to a special, rather fearsome place – a sacred place, the Test Site – with priests and acolytes in attendance: the various physicians, psychiatrists, social workers, peer counsellors and AIDS workers hovering or bustling about, many wearing their white robes of office.” Ian Young

    So much emotion tied to these tests, the ritual, the belief. It’s truly enough to make one’s head spin out of control. The only thing one can do is take a step back, or rather a step outside the dogma.

    1. Thanks Brian! I value your comment – you know it from the inside, and much better than a lot of the one-sided lock-step folks on the ‘aidstruth’ side who don’t live with the label, but feel ready to tell the world what to choke down and how.

  2. Let’s get nerdy then, when you get tested and come up HIV positive which is nothing to be positive about then you get scared because you’ve been told you are going to die.
    It’s no different from bone pointing practiced by witch doctors who don’t practice it nearly as much as doctors in the West deliberately do.

    And this raises Cortisol which…
    “Immune system
    Cortisol can weaken the activity of the immune system. Cortisol prevents proliferation of T-cells by rendering the interleukin-2 producer T-cells unresponsive to interleukin-1 (IL-1), and unable to produce the T-cell growth factor…”

  3. yes the narratives that unfold between lovers, husbands and wives, former ones and future ones… the labels and psychoanalysis, everything becomes a pathology, humans sort coded into type and graded for risk of contamination. the enigma of aids – biological chemical warfare on the human condition .And I still for the life of me cant figure out how my son could test ‘negative’ by their own rules …. when I breastfed him , and bled into him in birth from a tear that was stitched…. they had to wash his little head. My former partner says I infected him and now that I have been ill with IRIS after second line treatment resumed under pressure from family the local consensus is that this is the case as he remains well … He did not have to go on the run, suffer near starvation at times while pregnant , he was not anally raped while pregnant , and he ran into the arms of a stream of sympathetic women.. who rallied to his cause and calls of ‘whore’. I am just well again this month , two years on . And I see ahead of me now – a war on my integrity , my personal safety and my right to security and sanctity , in my home in my work in my opportunities for life , all of which filter down to children and there are days when i imagine or see it like a mirage , a scattering of my genes to dust.
    my lived experience with no ‘validity’.
    Keep writing and have patience because it typically takes 25 years to institutionalise anything effectively and in that light you are in enfancy still .
    I never blamed my former BF , for being given a diagnosis of hiv , but he scapegoated me and went to war to try to destroy my life and my son and my daughters with many well wishing onlookers. For twelve years I have lived in a state of almost complete house arrest from one place to another , with the best intentions of a few always pulled apart by the great machine of social discrimination in one form or another. Discreetly ostracised at schools until I protested – headmistress advising my sons two friends parents not to let their children play with my son…..reported back to my little …..hero …….who has lived through so much loss and denial , exclusion and scapegoating ….. by his friend , as his mother told him the story. Lucky for him she made a point of inviting him every week after and also offered to chaperone him to his football club . But he refused to go , humiliated. The Whore mother, harbinger of disease and bad genes. Decommissioned for life love and human physicality….and I dont think of sex , I dream up old memories like the delirious ecstasy of …sharing a melting ice lollipop on a hot day, or being kissed through tears – not now , contamination risk , grade 4 , lethal liquidity. Dont infect us with your emotional overload , your excess of loving……:-)

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