We have a lot to thank Star Wars for. Officers in boots, lightsabre shafts as luminous as glow-in-the-dark condoms, father/son issues, billowing capes, and some quotes we’ll never be able to get out of our heads.
One thing this much-loved series has taught us is that just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there. Like the Force, for instance – it surrounds us, binds us… well, you know the drill. And the Millennium Falcon – it’s the hottest vessel in the galaxy, yet no one ever knows when that damn hyperdrive is playing up.
Taking an interstellar leap forward to a galaxy a little closer, we want to mention something else you can’t see that could still be around. HIV.
This invader of heavenly bodies is as deceptive as a Sith apprentice. Someone living with HIV might have no idea of the fact because often the infection doesn’t display any immediate symptoms.
The only way to know your status, like sending the Falcon in for a good fine-tune, is to get tested, a process that is easier and quicker than it’s ever been before.
We’re putting the call out to all HIV negative men who have sex with men to get tested at least twice a year as part of our fight to end HIV by 2020. Evoking the spirit of some of our favourite Star Wars guys, which approach appeals to you?
COOL LIKE KENOBI: “Your eyes can deceive you; don’t trust them”
This wise and well-robed dude knows that just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You might look great and feel fine, but keep in mind that 20% of guys living with HIV don’t know they have the infection. Search your feelings – wouldn’t it be easier to take one test and know for yourself?
LACKLUSTRE LIKE LUKE: “There’s nothing I can do about it right now”
He’s such a doubter, isn’t he? There is so much you can do. If you are HIV positive, then delaying treatment isn’t doing you any favours, and you could be passing on the virus without knowing it. Get tested and find out your status: if testing delivers a positive result, then early treatment can help you and the guys you have fun with.
SCEPTICAL LIKE C3PO: “We’re doomed!”
Don’t listen to that disaster-loving droid – this is absolutely not true. These days, treatment is so effective that it puts pos guys on the same playing field as neg guys when it comes to life expectancy. What’s more, it dramatically reduces the chances of passing on the infection.
UNYIELDING LIKE YODA: “Try not. Do … or do not. There is no try”
He may be small but he makes some big statements. Really, it’s down to you to get moving and get tested. Unconvinced? Watch these guys who we talked to who are a lot younger and better looking than Yoda, and who have all been tested and found it a breeze.
HANDS-ON LIKE HAN: “Let’s blow this thing and go home!”
Okay, so he did also say “Never tell me the odds” and is prone to shoot his blaster first and think later. But he’s also never been one to shy from a challenge. We think this fly-boy would be impressed with Sydney’s four a[TEST] sites, which offer testing and results in only 30 minutes – practically lightspeed! You could even book one right now here.
VIGILANT LIKE VADER: “You cannot hide forever”
If you’re HIV positive but have no symptoms, this doesn’t mean the virus is going to just go away. And given there is a higher chance for a guy living with HIV to transmit in the first six months of infection, having the chance to get early treatment can make worlds of difference: doctors now recommend to go on immediate treatment for your health first and also that of others.
FEISTY LIKE FINN: “I’m in charge. I’m in charge now!”
That’s right, Big Deal, you are. This hero for a new generation of fans couldn’t have put it better. Getting tested at least twice a year is a way to take control of your health and your life. It puts you in the pilot’s seat by keeping you informed and allowing you to act on that information.
Let’s face it, even the Falcon needs a service now and then.