Elevate the Conversation
Talking about sex is not always easy. It can make us uncomfortable or even afraid to raise theissue with our friends or sexual partners. But, it is important to keep in mind that talking openly about sex and being tested for HIV are some of the best ways to reduce the spread of HIV in our communities. Talking with your sex partner about using condoms before having sex will help toavoid misunderstandings during a moment of passion.
Here are some ideas:
- Learn everything you can about HIV before you start talking. Knowing the facts givesyou confidence and will help you answer any questions your friends or partner might have. Come to the conversation with a goal. Knowing what you want to get out of it willmake things a lot smoother. The bottom line is that informing yourself and the people around you about HIV and the testing process is the key to staying healthy and to stopping HIV.
- Pick the right time and place for “the talk”. The conversation is more likely to go smoothly if you are both comfortable, so make sure you have privacy and enough time to talk it out. Let your partner know that you care about them, as well as yourself, andbecause of that you want to take care of your health.
- Practice. If you’re nervous about your partner’s reaction, practice what you’re going to say with a friend or someone else you trust. Reverse roles and pretend you are your partner; this might help you be prepared for their reactions.
- Get tested together. Suggest that you make appointments to get tested together; thisshows your partner that your motive is care and respect, rather than distrust.
- Be firm. If your partner refuses to get tested and/or does not support your decision to get tested, you should seriously reconsider being sexually active with them. HIV is a life threatening virus and will change your life. You have a right to expect that your sexual partners do what they can to minimize your risk. Never have unprotected sex with a person who won’t consent to an HIV test.
Whether you choose to have sex or not, it is important to talk about it with your partner. Having direct conversations about sex, protection, HIV, STD and pregnancy prevention can be difficult or embarrassing, but if you are confident about your facts and able to express openly how you feel it should be easier. So take some time to get informed and to think through what feels right for you. It may be helpful to talk these decisions over with a close friend, parent, doctor, or othertrusted person in your life before you talk to your partner. When you are clear about your own feelings, it will be easier to communicate them to someone else.
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