I recently had a big scare with a friend of mine. Seemed for a couple of weeks that she had a type of cancer brought on by an STD; the HPV virus. At least that's why the doctor told her. We were dead scared because we didn't want to lose her. Two weeks later it turned out that she didn't have cancer nor the virus, and eventhough the PAP said positive, test after test concluded that it was misdiagnosed. We were all kind of dumbstruck because she never cheated on her boyfriend and same applied to him (at least that's what he told her), so it kind of didn't fit her reality. But hey, you never know what the other person is doing, right?
Loosing a good friend like that, the mere posibility, made me really sad and scared. For her, for me, for everyone I love and care for. When something like that happens to someone you know, you start wondering about your life, about the people you have been intimate with. Even about the person you are with right there and then. There is one thing you can do to know for a fact that you are not sick as well. Get tested.
Ever since that thing happened, I have been very actively telling people to get checked for anything. If you have some 20 minutes to spare on a weekend, for God's sake, get tested. Get blood labs, go get a PAP test. Do it. You don't want to figure out later that you are dying because you were either a coward or just lazy.
Two great campaigns that I love are also doing that, telling people to go check themselves.
The ALDO fights AIDS campaign is brilliant. Basically you go to an ALDO store anywhere in the US and buy the dog tags of Speak, Hear or See and you will be helping YouthAIDS HIV-prevention initiatives such as: voluntary counseling centers, testing clinics and the development of tools for HIV prevention. Come on, it's only 7 bucks for each tag and besides, they look way cool. I wear mine once in a while and everyone asks about it. That's the cool thing, you can spread the word by wearing it. Want to see them? Included in the post is a photo of the new version of tags, because the campaign is going in its second run. New artist photos and cool stuff can be found at: www.youthaids-aldo.org
The Tell Someone (tell-someone.com) awareness campaign for HPV and Cervical Cancer is also brilliant. Its basic premise is telling every woman to get a PAP test so she can avoid getting cancer if they have the STD. For all of you chicks out there, if your PAP test turns out positive you may have the virus. It is a kind of dormant virus where if you don't check yourself enough, you might end up with cancer. It doesn't show any symptoms, only it worsens to that ugly disease. But don't be that afraid, the virus usually gets flushed out by your body or you can control it by visiting a doctor every few months. That's why it's so important to get tested and to spread the word about it. You can send cool e-cards reminding them to go to their doctor. Brilliant. I already have told all my girlfriends, and I'm bugging two or three to go to their Ob Gyn.
See? Sometimes advertising can actually save lives. it doesn't suck all the time. Just 80% of it.
So here at WAS, we're begging you. Get tested and tell a friend. You can save a life, trust me.