Sex can bring with it a lot of emotions. Whether it’s your first time, or you have done it before, you need to make sure it’s something you enjoy and do safely. Wearing a condom each and every time you have sex is one of the best ways to ensure you have fun during sex and greatly reduces your chance of getting a sexually transmitted infection.
A lot of people can feel anxious about losing their virginity and that’s normal. Remember that sex can be a wonderful thing, so long as there is communication and respect from both partners, and you use protection. Mistakes can happen, this is OK, as long as we know all the facts about HIV and other STIs. There are lots of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that don’t have symptoms, so often people won’t know that they have an infection.
It’s good to test regularly for STIs even if you don’t have any symptoms. Opening up to someone close to you doesn’t only bring you the relief it invites them to assist you with the treatment, especially for us young guys with busy lives one day you take your meds and the other day you forget.
Having someone to nag and remind you, is just what you need. Do not keep your status to yourself, it will only end up causing you stress. Talk about it, it helps. Deciding how to manage your relationships and communicate your preferences to your sexual partners can be very challenging. Talking about how to protect yourself and your partner from STIs and HIV, as well as unwanted pregnancy, before you’re ‘in the moment’ is good for your sexual and mental health.
If you feel you’ve put yourself at risk then get tested immediately to avoid the worry and negative mental health impact that putting it off can have. If you’re diagnosed positive it can take time to get used to the idea of a lifetime on medication and to feel positive about the future. Some people have some side effects from HIV treatment drugs initially, but these usually go away after a few weeks.
Talking to trusted friends or family about your HIV status can help you work through your emotions. But if you’re not able or ready to do that, in most areas you can access support groups where you’ll find like-minded people going through similar experiences. Everyone will cope differently when they learn they are HIV positive. Feeling sad, angry or scared are all normal reactions, getting support from those around you can help you to manage your emotions during this difficult time.
Learning to live with HIV is a journey but once you know your status you can start treatment and live a long and healthy life like anyone else. Getting support from friends, family or loved ones, can also help you stay positive. It’s easy to convince yourself that you have HIV, without ever having tested. Taking a test will let you put these worries to rest, and you can go back to living your life whether you’re positive or negative.
Either way, facing the fear and taking a test is often the first step in getting your life back. I know I have a lot more to go through with HIV. But just remember trust the people you tell that they aren’t going to judge you, but help you, and be there for you. Life is precious. Keep your head up and realize everything always works out like they are supposed to, and hurt is only but temporary.
I don’t take what happened to me negatively, it won’t do me any good for my health. But moving forward, I’ve learned to love myself more. I’ve learned who my true friends are, and most especially, I’m happy with the love and support that I’m getting from my friends and fellow people living with HIV. There is always a life after an HIV positive diagnosis. People need more information in a clearer tone. I feel like there should be more awareness among people so that, least of all, the community suffering from this can live freely and accept themselves. More support groups and counselling should be given on a regular basis so that at least the stigma of HIV is removed.
We are not dirty. We didn’t do anything wrong. We just need love, care, equality and some support so that we can keep up with ourselves. I am living a completely normal life with no diseases other than this infection. I have no problem with this but the hiding it part scares me. Don’t forget what happened to you in your past, cherish it, and learn from it.
Do not regret what happened. It may not be easy. I know, but for all, we know this will always serve as a reminder to live our life to the fullest. Ignorance isn’t always bliss. HIV was able to take many lives because we were ignorant about this disease. But we can ensure an HIV free world by making everyone aware of this disease. For a safe and better future, we have to change our mentality and spread awareness.