It’s World AIDS Day, and while we might be at a tipping point, the fight is nowhere near over. The most important part of the struggle against AIDS is slowing the rate of new infections, and the only person who can do that is you.
You need to know your risk and if you engage in high risk behaviours, you need to get tested ASAP.
If any of the below apply to you, you’re at a higher risk of getting HIV and should go for a test.
• You’ve injected drugs or shared drug equipment.
• You’ve had unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with multiple partners; with someone whose sexual history or risk-taking behaviour you aren’t sure about; or with men who have sex with men.
• You’ve had hepatitis, tuberculosis or a sexually transmitted disease.
• You’ve had unprotected sex with someone for whom any of the above applies.
Before having sex for the first time with a new partner, you should both get tested for HIV. If you're in a relationship and you and your partner are considering having sex without using a condom, you should also go through the testing process while continuing to use condoms until you're certain neither of you has HIV.
It’s also important that if you and your partner have an agreement about having sex outside the relationship that you keep to what was mutually agreed. If the agreement is broken by either partner, you need to discuss this openly. You may need to return to using condoms until you’ve been tested again.
For women who are pregnant or plan to become so, testing is also extremely important. If a pregnant woman is HIV-positive, antiretroviral treatment can lower the chance of passing HIV to her baby.
Do you know how to separate the facts from the fiction when it comes to HIV/AIDS? Here are 9 AIDS myths, busted.