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Know Your Status

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Today, Dec 1st is World AIDS Day, let’s take it as an opportunity to talk about why you should know your status, how to have a conversation with your partner about responsible sex and where to get tested. As for why, African-Americans, aka brown people, aka mocha patients carry the heaviest burden of the HIV pandemic in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at some point in their lifetimes, an estimated 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 32 black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection. That should be a significant enough statistic to be taken seriously. While African Americans make up only 14% of the population, our rate of HIV infection is disproportionately higher than other ethnic groups. There is plenty of conspiracy about where the disease originated and why, but that won’t be discussed here.  I just want to encourage you to take ownership of the issue and be responsible; each one know his/her status.

Talking to your new or current sexual partner/spouse/boo thang/friend with benefits, etc., can prove to be a difficult task for some. It’s an awkward, but very necessary conversation. Let’s face it, sex can produce responsibility in the form of a baby, so it should be reserved for responsible people. Part of being responsible is knowing your status for all sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. There is no script for how this conversation should go, just let logic prevail. Chose a time when both you and your partner are both comfortable and in a private setting that lends itself to very little interruption. Don’t try to talk in the “heat of the moment.” By sharing that you care about your partner and yourself, you are more likely to come across as confident and concerned about continued good health for you both, and less likely to put a person on the defensive. Find more ideas here on how to have “the talk.”

So now that you’d decided that it’s totally in your best interest, as well as your partners for you both to be tested, let’s find out where you can be tested. You can even go together. Seems like it would be a nice opportunity to bond and express your love for one another while doing something so relevant to the health of your relationship. Here, you can enter your zip code and find a nearby testing site. Additionally, you can be tested at your primary care doctors office, OB/GYN, Planned Parenthood, your local city or county health department and your local urgent care. Be sure to contact the facility of your choice to determine cost, if any, and whether your insurance is accepted. Keep in mind that FREE HIV testing is provided at some of the resources mentioned above.

Find more information about how often you should be tested here.

Peace and blessings,

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