Knowledge is power. That statement is true in all areas of our lives but the one area where most of us choose to not apply it is in our sexual relationships. Married, single, divorced, gay or straight, knowing your HIV status is a topic which has, on more than one occasion, been brought to the table. Or perhaps not?
In any new relationship or while you’re dating, each encounter is somewhat like a job interview. You go through various questions and conversations that you both feel will bring you closer together and help in the “get to know each other” area of relationship. As the relationship grows and you get a glimpse inside each other’s families, lives and values, you discuss children and careers. But oftentimes, that giant elephant in the room gets ignored.
Obviously, it’s not the easiest conversation to bring up, and is probably one of the most uncomfortable to have, but it shouldn’t be. Your status is something you should always talk about before you have sex. Yet, we take greater steps to protect our hearts from being broken, than we do about our bodies.
But honesty and openness is a sign that your relationship has a strong foundation and being able to talk about such topics is detrimental to building trust. If you trust your partner enough to have unprotected sex, then you should trust them enough to discuss the topic. These things, though uncomfortable, should not be taken lightly. The trust and responsibility of these decisions should never be taken for granted.
As always, consider the steps that must be taken in order for you to be both safe and happy. You should each get tested before you begin to have unprotected sex. And another test should be taken three to four months after. Please make sure to continue to use protection until you receive the results of your second test. This should be a regular habit and you should screen yourself at least once a year so that you always know your status.
For more information on the subject and guidelines on how to get tested, please visit any of the links below. You will find various articles and guides on prevention, awareness treatments and testing centers near you.