Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It will never happen to me

It will never happen to me. I'm straight, and so is my partner. We don't do IV drugs and we're monogamous.

We were together for 5 years. We tried having a baby and then things fell apart. Now I've met someone new. My partner wants me to get an HIV test before we have sex. What's the point? I know that I'm not infected...

It's been a while since I've done the whole condom thing. I went to buy condoms and discovered that the lambskin ones don't protect against sexually transmitted infections. Who knew?! What's the point of a condom that doesn't stop the spread of HIV?

Today I am Facing AIDS for World AIDS Day. Today I remember all who are infected without knowing they are at risk. The above stories highlight many of the ways people unknowingly put themselves at risk. There are so many people who assume that heterosexual serial monogamy will protect them. Others use lambskin condoms, assuming that all condoms prevent the spread of HIV.

In most cities, the only non-latex condoms that grocery stores sell are lambskin. People with latex allergies have very little choice. Luckily, public health departments and internet retailers can provide fairly easy access to non-latex condoms that do prevent the spread of HIV and other STIs.

How many people go without HIV testing between relationships? Serial monogamy does not prevent HIV transmission. Everyone should have an HIV test at the end and beginning of every relationship. I don't care if you're 12, or 92. Do it for your partner.

To find an HIV test site, text your ZIP to “KNOWIT" (566948), or visit www.HIVtest.org. On this World AIDS Day join me in facing AIDS for yourself, your partner, and your community. Together we can fight AIDS.

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