Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good Clean Fun: HIV & STD Testing in Tokyo

Let's talk about HIV and being safe in Japan (/anywhere).

I am someone who believes in condoms always and testing regularly. It doesn't matter how safe you are or whether or not you have a boyfriend/girlfriend or what kind of lifestyle you lead. If you have sex, you should test for HIV and STDs. It is part of being a socially aware, responsible modern person.

C'mon guys, free HIV tests at the Tokyo Metropolitan Health Clinic!

GETTING TESTED FOR HIV IN JAPAN IS EASY EVEN IF YOU ARE A FOREIGNER. There is an HIV Testing Center close to the South Exit of Shinjuku Station that gives free and anonymous tests to anyone, complete with English versions of all necessary paperwork. I just went the other night. I will post more information in the comments, and I invite you to share any information you have about HIV/STD testing and related health matters in Japan.

If you're embarrassed about getting tested or think it's weird, you need to stop being dumb and get in the now. I get tested and talk about it because I want to express that it's a normal and healthy thing to do. A few years ago, the actress Scarlett Johansson said in an interview that she gets tested for HIV twice a year. People made a huge deal out of it and everyone framed the quote like, "Johansson denies promiscuity yet admits getting frequent HIV tests." What fucking year are we in? Things like this remind me that many people are still dangerously uptight about sex. I've had girl friends who didn't carry condoms because it made them feel slutty, and I've known plenty of sexually active people who don't get tested because they associate it with admitting to a dirty lifestyle.

Scarlett Johannson made no apologies and still insists, "It's part of being a decent human, to be tested for STDs. It's just disgusting behavior when people don't. It's so irresponsible." Evidently she is comfortable with her life and not ashamed of taking care of it. I'm glad I can say the same and I hope you can, too.

20 comments:

Beth said...

Tokyo Metropolitan Health Clinic
3F Tokyo Minami Shinjuku Building,
2-7-8, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.
Tel: 03-3377-0811

Call the number to make an appointment. They speak English and Japanese. They'll give you a number and when you show up you tell it to the person at the desk. Then you fill out a few simple forms, take another number and sit down in the waiting room. You'll be called into a room where a doctor will give you general information about the test and results. Then you'll have your blood drawn. Your results will be ready in a week and you have to come back to get them in person. You can get other STD tests during certain months.

P.S. Don't hit on anyone in the waiting room. Thanks random guy for making everyone feel really awkward.

selena said...

Thanks for this post. I completely agree with you. I was tested this summer for everything and I use condoms. Duh. It should go without saying, but it doesn't. It needs to be said. I've been lucky so far here that my partner isn't weird about condoms; I've heard some guys here are.

Beth said...

in my experience, yes, some guys here are. i wouldn't put that in the post but that is basically why i made it -- it disturbs me how easy it is NOT to have safe sex in japan.

Beth said...

also, part of the drama with scarlett johansson was that she was in a relationship at the time, and people decided that if she was still getting tested, it meant she was obviously not being faithful.

it's really gross to degrade someone for claiming to keep their health in their own hands. plenty of people in relationships get HIV and other STDs from their partners. until there is a magical spell to make monogamy infallible, no one should be judged for keeping up with their personal precautions after they start going steady. i would never stop taking HIV tests purely to prove that i'm faithful. the idea is so ridiculous i felt ridiculous typing that.

Whitney Turner said...

I told some people that Dave and I got tested before being married and they all thought it was weird and asked if we'd cheated on each other or if we didn't trust each other. WTF? Man, being healthy and aware is sooo worth a few lousy minutes in a health clinic!

and lol for the guy hitting on you.

Beth said...

whitney -- that's so lame. it's unbelievable how behind the times the times are.

Julie said...

What a great post.

Beth said...

Thanks, it's my HUNDREDTH post!

tokyo moe said...

Thank you for the excellent post and information!

Does Tokyo not have the 20 minute HIV test? Where I am from, they do a test with a cotton swab in the mouth (no blood), and can tell you the results in the same visit. I wonder if this is available in Tokyo?

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

Right on! I don't understand people in this day and age who don't both use protection AND get tested. The casual attitude towards condom use here and pulling out as a form of birth control is beyond my comprehension.

**There is a 15 or 20-minute test available at a clinic in Shibuya, although they take a little blood - from the finger if I recall correctly.

selena said...

Hey Green, can you post the name of the place in Shibuya? I don't mind blood.

Beth said...

jared -- tokyo must have that; not sure where, though.

green-eyed -- I KNOW, RIGHT? it never ceases to amaze me. and yeah if you have the name of that clinic, do post it!

Beth said...

p.s. i forgot to mention, that first picture is from some mtv hiv-awareness campaign i think, and HOW I WISH I HAD DRAWN ITTTTTTTTTTTTTT

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

Hiro Clinic in Shibuya (http://www.hiroclinic.net/index.html). It's not free unfortunately but at the time I couldn't make any of the free clinics because of their schedules. This is also a great site where you can search for clinics in your area and there are a lot of free places listed in the "event info" section: http://www.hivkensa.com/

jasonviva said...

thanks for the post!

i'm going to call them for an appointment. do you get to choose the date and time or is it assigned to you?

thanks!

Beth said...

You can choose your own time to go in. They were able to see me in the evening after work which was really nice. Have fun!

Michael E Murillo said...

Call 855-445-3018 for STD testing in the comfort of your own home

john willim said...

Great blog! There is lots of good information, not only me but also everyone can understand it easily.
STD Aware Los Angeles

Anonymous said...

Japan & United States has got most number of std infections in past few years. People here are scared and worried what to do. Govt run clinics are limited and private clinics are very costly.

Anonymous said...

im a foreign student in japan, can i get free hiv treatment in case im positive?