This is the time of year when our thoughts turn to New Year’s resolutions.These often revolve around some form of how we look: I will lose weight, hit the gym and get buffed or grow something, shave something off, etc. Looking good can make you feel good, so there is no harm here at all. However, I would like to suggest a different kind of resolution for the new year—a safer more responsible year ahead.
Here are some ideas for resolutions:
IF YOU ARE HIV+
- Don’t infect another person.A person can only get infected with HIV from someone who has it. It is your responsibility and a solemn decision not to pass HIV on to another.You know what a struggle coping with being HIV+ is—don’t make someone else go through it.
- Take your medication.You are one of the lucky ones; you have access to the best that modern medicine has to offer. Not adhering to your regimen means that you will have to switch to something more expensive and perhaps less effective.
- Disclose your status to others you trust. Being HIV+ is not a dirty secret.Yes, you are taking a risk, but you deserve the love and support of others.Any love interest that can’t handle it is not going to work out in the end.
- Be an active partner in your healthcare. Ask questions of your provider. Read up on what is happening in the field.
- Get involved. One of the best therapies for the blues is to be of service to others. Plus AIDS activism has taken a holiday and we need it back. You can help.
IF YOU ARE HIV-
- Stay negative in 2010.The simple resolutions are the best ones.This is as simple as saying the past is the past. For the future I am not going to risk be- coming positive no matter how steamy the situation becomes. Of course, unless we never touch another human we are taking some risk. So look yourself in the mirror and decide how much risk you are willing to take—no anal sex without a condom; oral sex with or without a condom; no taking cum in my mouth.
- Talk to your partners about safer sex. Whether it is a hook-up, dating or a new relationship, have “the conversation”—it will relieve the stress. Not talking about it often leads to trouble. If you both agree on the ground rules you will help each other stick to them—it might just bring you closer together.
- Leave the house prepared. Don’t go out of the house at any time that you could possibly wind up having sex without condoms and preferably lube. Getting infected with HIV for lack of a condom is a really bad deal.
- Get tested for HIV. If you haven’t been tested in six months and you have been putting it off because you are scared, lazy or not thinking about it— man up.Testing is easy, free and convenient—no excuses.Testing is available at AHF’s Men’s Wellness Center or visit freehivtest.net to find a place near you.And while you’re at it, drag a friend along.
- Get a thorough STD screening. It’s as necessary as a haircut. STDs themselves can be serious and they raise your chances of getting HIV.And if you’re afraid of needles—you handle more discomfort during sex than a little needle—don’t use that as an excuse.