Have you ever had to pop the HIV/AIDS question? I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked about my HIV status, but I can honestly say not enough. My husband and I got tested early in our relationship, it pulled us closer together, and led to freakier sex. Knowing your significant other’s status is comforting, and I swear it automatically makes your organisms 10x better.
The HIV/AIDS Talk isn’t the easiest to have, even if you are negative. When do you ask? Does it kill the mood? How does asking make the other person feel? I mean it isn’t like they have an episode about this on Black-ish. Anthony Anderson hasn’t had us laugh our way through this one just yet. Seriously, everyone talks about knowing your status, but I haven’t seen much information about how to find out someone else’s status. I am certain no one is talking about how you need to check in with your significant other about their status annually.
According to the CDC, “All communities, lack awareness of HIV status, and that contributes to the risk of passing it others.” The truth is black people are affected the most. Heterosexual black men and women are being diagnosed at more than double the rate of our white and Hispanic counter parts. I put the survey out to all of The Kings, and unfortunately, only 12 of them responded. The lack of participation tells me I am not the only one who thinks this is a hard conversation.
We have got to start having the HIV/AIDs conversation with our kids, our friends, and our significant others. 1 in 8 people walks around all willy nilly because they don’t even know that they have been infected. Most of us are willing to listen to our friends spill the tea on personal matters as it relates to their intimate relationships. However, we have got to be ready to remind our loved ones that we need to know what that HIV status do tho.
It isn’t nosey; it is all about protection. As a parent to a teen, I will admit I don’t like talking to my son about sex. My folk didn’t talk to me, but that is why I have to talk to him. I want him to get his facts from real sources. As much as we want our son to practice abstinence, we knew we had to show him where we keep the condoms. Sex is biological and therefore unavoidable, but HIV is preventable. So let’s talk about sex.
Here is what The Kings had to say about the HIV/AIDs Conversation.
100% of the black men I interviewed stated that they are not offended when a potential partner asks them their HIV Status. 91% of them stated that they didn’t mind being the one to do the asking.
When is the best time to ask?
16.67% indicated on the first date
75% said before they have sex
8.33% reported when they decide to be exclusive
How should you ask?
Time and time again the kings said to be straight up.
One King stated, “Without being scared. Both of your lives are at stake.”
Another King said: Just do it. “So, any cooties I should know about?” Mention HPV first if they look puzzled or caught off guard, then work your way up through herpes, hep, syphilis, etc… you can put it all in one sentence if you like.
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Yes, our community has to be more intentional about having this conversation. Our rates are sky rocketing. People need to be safe out there.
Such an important question to ask! Glad to see this resource…
I love this topic. I use to work at an HIV clinic and the hardest part is to just have he convo
Great information, my husband and I talked about it but I must admit it wasnt before the first time we had sex. This is a topic that should be talked about more! Thanks for sharing!
This is great advice! I think being open and honest is the best policy. It’s definitely something that’s super important to talk about when you’re in a relationship with someone because it will affect both of your lives.
This is a question that definitely needs to be asked as early as possible and before the first instance of unprotected sex…it is especially important that children also share the same awareness.
ROFL at “any cooties I should know about?!” That is the best way to ask and not be offensive. Humor is the best tool. It is important because both of our lives are literally at stake.
Honestly, I don’t recall anyone asking me about my HIV status. I would get tested annually at my girly visit. I always asked for a full work up. I got married at 18 and I still got tested every single year. I didn’t really ask people either, but I got tested.
I did ask my current when things were new and he was a total butt about it. I still pushed him on it though.
Interesting. I think most women ask this question. I have never had a man bring it up or even ask about STD’s. I always did. Crazy, right?
Thank you for talking about HIV! If anyone would like access to free testing, education, and resources please reach out to us at Western North Carolina AIDS Project. We also offer case managers working to help people living with HIV. The only requirement to becoming exposed to HIV and other common STDs is that you are human. HIV is not the death sentence we were all taught it was which is a big reason why people hesitate getting tested for this chronic but treatable disease. It is thought 13-24% of people living with this virus are unaware of their status. These individuals are 90% more likely to transmit the virus. Individuals testing positive today are connected to care including taking life saving meds that take viral levels to undetectable. When viral levels are lowered and eventually taken to undetectable, the virus is not able to compromise their own bodies but it is also highly unlikely to spread the virus to others. The prevalence of HIV in the South is disproportionate at roughly 50% of all cases though there is only 37% of the nation’s population. It goes without saying we should all disclose our status for all STDs we may have been exposed to when entering an intimate relationship. In a conversation with Our VOICE staff I was reminded that unless we disclose this part of ourselves, we cannot realistically gain consent from an individual.
This is such great information!!
This is such a great topic and I applaud you for discussing. We have to stop being so guarded around this topic and ensure we are protecting ourselves!
Well thought of interview. I think mentioning on the first date is great.