Posts Tagged ‘National HIV Testing Day’

Black Women, HIV and National HIV Testing Day

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Today, I read that in a few days it will be National HIV Testing Day (June 27th). So I started thinking, about a decade ago, if anyone had suggested to me that celibacy was a viable “way of life” I would have laughed them off and asked them when they intended to return to the 50s! Years later, this is the advice that I genuinely give to most young women who solicit my advice. Does is seem a little “old fashioned”? Maybe. I do think though, considering that every single study that is being released on new cases of HIV infection shows that black women are still disproportionately leading, it is not as ridiculous as it may sound.

Some years ago, while I was still single, a very good male friend of mine, more like a brother really, suggested to me that maybe I should consider celibacy. Even in my Sex in the City watching mindset, I knew that the words he spoke were true and worth taking into consideration. These were the reasons why he suggested it:

1. Every time a woman engages in a sexual relationship with a man who does not think enough of her or himself to make a commitment, he affects her spiritual well-being and usually NOT IN A GOOD WAY!

2. Every time a woman engages in a sexual relationship, she is at a risk of falling pregnant-yes, even if protection is used!

3. Every time a woman engages in a sexual relationship, she is at risk of contracting a sexually contracted disease, including HIV which can lead to AIDS- yes, even if protection is used!

Now, I recognize that this is a rather conservative approach to the whole topic, but I do think that it is worth considering. The only way to make sure that you do not get infected with HIV from a sexual partner is not to have any sexual partners!

For those of us who are in marriages and committed relationships, of course celibacy is not a realistic option. We can however use the day to remind ourselves and those around us that when we practice fidelity, we protect ourselves and our partners from exposure to HIV and other harmful sexually contracted diseases. Let’s make a habit of holding ourselves to a high standard and let’s also hold those around us to the same standard.

This is my plea: If you have never been tested for HIV, please go and get tested; HIV is no longer the death sentence that it used to be. HIV infected people, when being treated with the right medications, can live long and purposeful lives. And for those that have been tested, go get tested again and take your friends and loved ones with you.

As for me, I did end up taking “my brother’s” advice all those years ago and I ended up meeting and marrying a man who was also holding himself to the same standard. Seven years later, I believe that was one of the best decisions I ever made!