You probably already know that unsafe sex is a major risk factor for getting HIV. But for some women, there’s that disconnect between what you know … and what you do.
We tend to think, “I’m not crazy. I wouldn’t sleep with someone who’d give me a disease.” And unfortunately, that’s how “surprises” happen.
In a perfect world, loving people wouldn’t spread diseases to each other. But no one is perfect. You’re human. So is your partner. And numbers don’t lie. 1 in 48 Black women is predicted to be infected with HIV in her lifetime.
So, instead of taking chances, have a heart to heart with yourself. Decide what you will do to protect yourself from HIV.
That might mean:
- Choosing not to have sex at all.
- Getting tested for HIV, and knowing your HIV status … and making sure your partner does the same thing.
- Choosing to have safer sex by using condoms. Other forms of birth control don’t protect against HIV, or against other sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis and gonorrhea.
- Asking your doctor about PrEP.
Or it might mean choosing to have sex only if you’re in a committed relationship with a partner who has tested negative for HIV. (But it’s best to keep using condoms as a precaution.)
Another option may be the 90-day rule: no sex until the guy spends 90 days proving he’s worthy of it. (Which is not necessarily a bad idea. Of course, he’d still have to get that HIV test, too.)
Whatever it is, make your standards non-negotiable.
Here are 5 safe-sex promises to make to yourself to lower your HIV risk.
If your partner is pushing you to have sex without a condom and you’re uncomfortable with that—they’re being selfish, plain and simple. You don’t have to deal with that.
You have every right to put your well-being first. That’s not you being selfish. That’s you protecting yourself. Remember that protecting yourself is what matters most. It’s okay to say:
[blockquote background=”AC2376″]“I finally see that loving you and loving me just don’t seem to work at all … and you know if I have to choose, I chose me.”
—“Me” by Tamia (singer)[/blockquote]
It’s perfectly normal to want to feel wanted and desired. But it’s also perfectly normal to want to avoid putting yourself in situations that are risky for your health. Fortunately, these two wants—sexiness and safety—are a perfect match. In fact:
[blockquote background=”AC2376″]“Being sexy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be safe.”
—Dannii Minogue (Australian singer and actress)[/blockquote]
Desire is a part of human nature, but so is preserving your heart and not letting someone else run roughshod over it.
Telling someone you love them is a decision that should not be taken lightly or made in a rush.Having unprotected sex without understanding the person’s HIV status is just as foolish—and can be dangerous for both your health and your heart. Remember:
[blockquote background=”AC2376″]“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
In the heat of the moment, it can be all too easy to forget—or simply ignore—the “no glove, no love” rule. But as cheesy as that rule is, it’s a lot easier to remember—and live with—than the alternative. Ask yourself:
“Is 20 minutes of unprotected thrills worth a lifetime of pills?”
Those words are worth repeating: You are strong.
You are strong because you can resist temptation, pressure, and anything else that might make risky sex seem worth it. Simply put, you refuse to put yourself at risk:
[blockquote background=”AC2376″]“A wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim.”
—Maya Angelou (poet)[/blockquote]
Now that you have made these promises to yourself, reach out and empower other women to join you. Share these words on Pinterest and Instagram with the women who matter in your life.