I found links to other websites that test for the CCR5 gene, but they too have closed down or did not reply to my emails. Still, the test is available to the public.
But before we discuss where to find it, there are a few important questions to consider: Would you want to know if you are immune to HIV? What would you do with that knowledge?
Would you stop using condoms?
Would you believe someone who tells you they’re immune to HIV so they don’t have to use a condom to fuck you? (What about other STIs?)
If you are an HIV-positive guy, would you want to know if you had one of the genes that make it less likely to have complications from HIV?
How much would it be worth to you to find out if you are immune to HIV?
These are all interesting and difficult questions. But I think the real question is: should you have the right to know that you might be immune to HIV?
Is it better that we not know that HIV immunity exists? Does this make a better and safer society?
I have no clear answers. But I tend to believe that honesty and transparency make for a better society. I do not think there are many times that hiding information from the public is a good idea.
So I did a great deal of searching online to find someplace where you might find out if you have the CCR5 gene and, if you do, whether you have it from one parent (partial immunity) or both (almost complete immunity).
There is a company in the US called 23andme that does a broad range of genetic tests, including testing for the CCR5 gene. To order the kit and for instructions on how to send them a saliva sample, go to 23andme.com/store. The test costs $209 (US). To see an example of the report you will receive, look at: https://www.23andme.com/health/resistance-to-hiv-aids/.
I assume there are other places that test for HIV immunity, too, but I could not find them. I hope that readers will post addresses of other places, if they find them, on xtra.ca as a comment to this column.
Do I think that, armed with the knowledge of immunity, people might practise more unsafe sex? Probably. Is it their right to make that decision for themselves? Yes, that’s always been our right.