I got my first HIV test while on internship. I had been sexually active for the first time since my teenage years just a few months before starting internship, which was, of course, a violation of the Vision and Expectations that I had signed (or as we called it at my seminary, One Vision, Many Expectations). While sitting in the waiting room waiting for the results of my rapid HIV test, wearing a tee shirt, my clergy shirt rolled up in my book bag, I wondered what my internship supervisor would think if she found out I was getting tested for a sexually transmitted infection. I wondered how my ministry would change, or if it would change at all, if the test result came back positive. I wondered if something so private and intimate as a night shared with a handsome stranger would lead to me needing to share the consequences publicly. I realized in that moment that the church is more comfortable ministering to those with HIV than they ever would be receiving ministry from someone with HIV.
The test result came back negative. I left the building, got into my car, and quickly buttoned up my clergy shirt, making sure my collar was in place, before starting the ignition and driving toward work.