Last updated: October 2023
If I knew then what I know now I would have learned about using protection from contracting any STIs. It seems that people will have unprotected sex and not be afraid to do that, but then they are fearful to take an HIV test which does not make sense to me.
It is all our responsibility to take care of our sexual health. I am here to tell you that it is not the same as it was in the 80s and 90s because there is so much more information out there on HIV and getting tested. The easiest thing for someone to do is to get tested.
I know that there is a fear of knowing if you have contracted HIV, but I really want people to understand that it is so much better to know about an HIV-positive result than not knowing.
If I did not get tested
If I did not get an HIV test, I may not still be living here today - almost 26 years later with HIV. I would have ended up with an AIDS diagnosis (an AIDS-related complication) and contracted an opportunistic infection.
The stigma is causing folks to not want to get tested and we must improve when we talk about HIV because people are living long lives with HIV.
What does U=U mean?
Testing options, options everywhere
There are so many tests out there for many different things and it seems like HIV is the only test individuals are afraid to take. There are many ways today to take an HIV test, especially if you don't want anyone to know.
Some say they do not like needles, but a lot of health departments offer HIV home testing kits that can be mailed to your house, and there is now a swab test as well.
You can also purchase an HIV testing kit from a department store right off the shelf. So, there should not be any excuses as to why you cannot take an HIV test. Be smart and do your part in taking care of yourself because we do not want anyone else to contract HIV.
Have you helped someone with HIV testing recently?
The power of waiting
We do not want anyone to go through what the 1.2 million people have dealt with in the United States living with HIV. So, if you want to have sex just be smart, and look at everyone as if they are living with something until you know for sure.
Have your partner get tested along with you. If the test comes back negative that is great! Don't get too excited though because you still should wait to have unprotected sex. Yeah, I know you are wondering why well. Just because the results are negative you should wait 3 more months, and take another test to be sure.
It's your health we are talking about and that comes before having good sex. Make yourself a priority and worry about sex after that, okay? Be that one person that is not afraid to have hundreds of condoms on hand and be that one friend that talks to the people around you about taking an HIV test.
Change comes from all of us!
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