June 27th is National HIV Testing Day
The month of June brings us warm weather, pride festivals around the world, and Obama's proclaimed LGBT Month (which is a big stepping stone and proclamation from a president), but it is also HIV/AIDs awareness month. That means get tested, be knowledgeable, and know your status! Here at BMBB.com, I promote getting tested and being safe. I can't stress it enough, this isn't an option, it is a must do before and after any sexual partner or every six months, whichever comes first.
WE>AIDs reports that over one million people are currently living with HIV in the United States and 20% of the people infected don't know. Teens and young adults under the age of 30 represent 34% of new HIV infections since the year 2006 (Kaiser Family Foundation; Fact Sheet: The HIV/AIDs Epidemic in the US). Concerned yet? Don't be scared, be informed! Know your status.
Whether you are hooking up, dating, friends with benefits, open relationship... trust me the list goes on... you should always have the sex talk. Don't be afraid to be the one asking. It's your body, you need to know if there is anything that can potentially harm you.
I was sitting with a friend having beer and tacos over at Little Cave in Highland Park. He opened the discussion, so we hadn't had the sex talk...of course the whole time before that he was singing, "Lets talk about sex baby, lets talk about you and me, lets talk about..." Insert a little dance here. It was open and honest without any awkwardness. Without skipping a beat he proceeded to ask me about my status. Down the list I went with some 80's music mixed by the DJ as my soundtrack.
Exactly what does the sex talk entail? Well here are the guidelines on what YOU need to know.
1. What is your status and when were you tested?
2. Have you ever or do you have any other STDs?
3. Have you had past partners who had HIV/AIDs or an STD? Some STDs can be carried and never physically shown. You should know the difference of the different STD's.
Now that you are armed with a few questions, you need to be prepared to answer them yourself. It's easy, that means finding your nearest clinic or making an appointment with your doctor and getting tested. If you don't have insurance, there are many programs out there that you can find that do either free HIV testing or low cost testing. Here is an easy way of locating a center, text your zip code to KNOWIT (566948). There are no excuses and money is never a problem. If you are scared, shy, or embarrassed remember this, death is worse.
The easiest way to protect yourself from transmitting diseases during sex is easy as wash, rinse, and repeat. 1) get condoms from your local drug store, community health center, doctor 2) properly place the condom on your penis, and 3) have sex safely.
Remember, be honest, have fun, and always be safe! xo