Sunday, March 7, 2010

This is how women get AIDS

According to the Centers for Disease Control, African-Americans represent 12 percent of the U.S. population and 46 percent of those with HIV/AIDS. Looking back at my relationship with Number Two, it's easy to understand why.
  • He was screwing me, his ex-girlfriend, and quite probably, other men.
  • He was a "first-date-only" condom guy.
  • He engaged in what medical professionals politely call a "high risk" sexual position where blood-to-semen contact is not uncommon.
  • And, most importantly, I let him do all of the above.
That's the truth of why black women represent 61 percent of new HIV cases among all women.

Because we let our men dog us, and we don't stick up for ourselves in the ways that matter.

I have never had a grown-up conversation with a man about his sexual history before becoming his lover. (Partly because that would have meant divulging my sexual history. And partly because as a first-date kinda gal, I didn't do a lot of talking to begin with.)

I have never insisted that a man and I both get tested before having sex for the first time. (How exactly do you bring that up? "Here, honey, roll up your sleeve so I can draw some blood, and while you're at it, please give me $200 so I can buy this anonymous STD test, mail the sample to a lab and wait for the results.")

I have never insisted that a man wear a condom or else get out of my bed. (And I have a really juvenile confession to make about the reason why: It was one of my secret tests. "If he brings the condom and puts it on, that means he's a good guy, and he's responsible, and he cares about me." Yeah, right.)

I don't have AIDS or HIV.

Not because I was smart.

And definitely not because I was careful.

Simply because I was lucky.

I knew what I was supposed to do, but somehow I didn't have the courage, the nerve, the audacity, the outspokenness, the self-love, the assertiveness to do it. And I kinda hoped I could make it his job, like taking out the trash or opening the car door.

But the statistics don't lie.

Our men aren't going to protect us, because men don't like wearing condoms. And apparently, many don't like monogamy either.

It's up to us to protect ourselves.

It's been four years since my last sexual relationship, and I don't know when I'm going to meet someone I want to get hot, sweaty and horizontal with.

But when I do, for the first time in my life, I'm going to have to care enough about my health and well-being to actually insist that he get tested and wear a condom.

Am I the only one who finds this difficult?

(Number Two Diaries Parts 1-8: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 | Lessons Learned Part 2 of 3: 1 2 3)

8 comments:

Luscious Sealed Lips said...

Please, this is fucking important. Fun is good but not at the risk of your healthy life.

You have been lucky so far, now time to be careful, my dear friend. :)

Kisses.

Seminars said...

hello,

you are not the only one who finds it difficult to insist on a man using a condom. I remember feeling really uncomfortable asking a guy about the last time he got tested. He looked at me as if I was crazy because we were already HALFWAY to getting our groove on! AND he did not have a condom. I had one, and when I handed it to him, he LOOKED disappointed that he had to use one! Can you believe it?? So you are very right, we do have to stand up for our rights in order to stay alive. I love your articles, keep up the good work! Love always!

Samya said...

Thank you for this...I've decided that if I am not comfortable with this guy to ask him about his sexual history, to get tested or to wear a condom then i am not ready to have sex.

Nana said...

Hey hun!
I'm so amazed at how (finally!) people are starting to think more seriously about protection and HIV. I started a training to become an education and prevention volunteer (I do workshops in high schools and community centers about hiv/aids and STI's)and I'm also modeling for a poster (nude!) for a HIV fundraiser called 'Knowledge is sexy'. Amyways, I came back from Trinidad 10 days ago and met an amazing guy. He didn't want to use a condom, as he said 'don't worry, I won't come inside you.' I insisted, I said 'there are other things I can get from you, than being pregnant.' He said 'really, like what?' Now... I must tell you, Trinidadian schools have no sex ed and are usually heavy catholic, and because of a close minded attitude about sex, teenage pregnancy is high, and Hiv is on the rise. People don't talk about STI's, it's shameful. Some people rather die than be seen getting HIV medications (that is free in Trinidad). SO, I have had a scare in November and I got tested. I felt like i got a second chance when the test read negative. SO, there is no way me and my new partner are doing it raw unless we are both testes and monogamous. I'm glad you have written a post about it.

Don't Be a Slut said...

Hey, everybody. Thanks for sticking with me through my sporadic blogging over the last few months. It feels so good to be back.

I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has struggled with this issue; I'm even more glad that more of us are starting to think responsibly about our own health.

Here's a comment that one of my email subscribers sent directly to me that I wanted to share:

***
Get tested, wear a condom for SIX MONTHS ... and get tested again.

Then, continue with condoms until you both agree on monogomy. Then, be aware of his habits. Cheaters always give you signs; men are just not clever enough. First signs? Stop having unprotected sex.

Exhausting? Unnecessary?

Perhaps. That's why your carefree and comfortable survival depends entirely on your choosing abilities. One must learn to recognize, and more importantly, CHOOSE an honest man.

Secret to a happy life... My 2 cents!

xoxoS

Lion-ess said...

Great Post!!

@Nana - Sex and HIV/AIDS are very publicised in the Caribbean - in schools, youth clubs, television, newspapers etc - especially around Carnival. Since, I was growing up in the Caribbean, I knew about HIV/AIDS.

Most Caribbean men, like most men it seems, just don't like to wear condoms and so prefer to take the risk, even though they fully well know the consequences.

Good that you stick with what you feel and know is correct.

Women need to really start taking care of themselves.

StupidGirlSmartWoman said...

I appreciate your honesty. Your writing is real, and its something I can connect with.
I was with someone for over a year and thought I could trust him. We didn't use condoms, but I loved him so it was okay. I was wrong. On my birthday, I caught him with another girl. I few months later, I found out I have HPV. Every six months since I have had part of my cervix cut off to be tested for cervical cancer.
Trust is essential in a relationship, but so is responsibility. I should have protected myself and didn't.

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