Let’s just jump right in…right after I say thank you to a good friend who helped me get this message out! “Thank YOU!”
Reason Number One: No one ever told you that you don’t have to have sex…period.
In every discussion I have ever heard about HIV prevention, the word protection is always used. But rarely do we give the options of abstinence and celibacy as additional tools to protect against HIV. Sure, we have to acknowledge that both the young and old engage in premarital sex, and such is the case, we tell both demographics to use condoms. But why not ALSO tell them that another option is to skip all of that and keep their goodies to themselves? Believe it or not, everyone is NOT doing it–nor do they want to.
Reason Number Two: You still think that it can’t happen to you.
How long will we believe in that rhetoric? I’m sure there was a time when those girls in high school–you know the ones– thought that they couldn’t get pregnant. But now, three kids and many years later, they know that they can. So…why contract this disease to prove a point? If you’re like millions who willingly or unwillingly engage in unprotected sex each year, then you’ve been lucky (blessed) to dodge this diseased bullet. If you are still choosing to have sex then you have to be mindful of how serious the act of intercourse is- whether you’re single or married.
Reason Three: You don’t want to offend anyone by asking their status.
What?! You’ve got to be kidding. You pride yourself on knowing their favorite color, hobbies, and 5-year plan, but asking their HIV status is overstepping some irrelevant boundary? Again, this isn’t just for single people…married people need to ask the hard
questions, too. Do you know how many people have NEVER had an HIV test? So, no matter how faithful they may have been, how many times they never cheated and whatever else they say about their past relationships, HIV and other STDs could still be in the picture…afterall, do you know YOUR status? Exactly.
Reason Four: You still believe that you’ll be able to tell if someone is sick or not.
Please stop the madness…HIV is not a cold. And even with a cold, how many times have you had one and no one could “tell?” You may have even had a virus or infection, but there were no signs. HIV and other STDs are the same way. At the end of the day, the only way to KNOW if someone has it is to see the test. So, before you pat yourself on the back for being brave enough to ask, ask yourself, did you see any proof?
And, just to add a little wisdom to that statement: Remember that HIV can incubate for up to 3 months, which means that if you see the results of their test today, you still need a to see another test 3 months from now. But again, you could always, “save yourself…by saving yourself.” That was cute…put poignant.
Reason Five: You’re using sex to get ________________________.
Life happens. But for some, life happens under duress. This may be shocking to some of you, but there are people who believe that they have to have sex to maintain a certain lifestyle. This goes waaaaaay beyond giving sex to get love, this is more about having sex to get your bills paid (and this is not just a statement regarding prostitution–know that); having sex because it’s the by-product of your inebriated activities, which allow you to maintain certain connections; having sex because it affords you something that is essential to your existence. However, just because you make these types of decisions, you don’t have to further destroy yourself by allowing these events to happen without protection. If these events (only) happen when you’re drunk, consider staying sober at all costs, and see what decisions you make then–you could be very pleasantly surprised.
In conclusion, I personally, believe in abstinence and celibacy, but if you’re engaging in sexual exploits of ANY kind, it might behoove you and your partner(s) to make a date at your local clinic and get tested. The five reasons above are stupid reasons to
contract this disease, and in the time it took you read this, approximately 50 more people in the US were just infected (per the 2006 statistics).
For more information or to speak with someone confidentially about HIV or other sexual health concerns contact one or all of the following agencies: AIDS Foundation Houston (www.aidshelp.org) at 713.623.6796 in or The Campaign to End AIDS (www.c2ea.org) at 877.363.2437 (END AIDS). To find a testing facility in your area, visit the National HIV and STD Testing Resource site (www.hivtest.org) and enter your zip. Don’t be afraid to find out your status-knowing is half the battle and the first step to waging war on this epidemic. For those of you who are unaware, today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day….and a great day to get tested.
And, in case you were wondering….HIV NEGATIVE–and yes, I have the proof!