Health and Fitness

HIV Prevention Tips

Written by Penelope Farthing

With straight black women getting featured in HIV medication ads, infection rates in Atlanta rivaling some third world countries, and an increase unsafe practices like “stealthing”, where a man removes the condom midway through sex, it is an increasingly dangerous time to be a sexually active black woman. According to stats from the CDC, 59% of new HIV diagnoses are black women. HIV isn’t a death sentence anymore, but that doesn’t mean anyone should be signing up to get it, either.

With all that in mind, how are some ways black women (or any woman, really) can prevent catching a lifelong illness? Here are a few tips.

Include OraQuick in your dating toolkit

Did you know there is an over the counter, no blood needed, oral HIV test? It’s called OraQuick and it tells you your results within minutes. Of course a blood test is more accurate, but if you are nervous or can’t seem to find the time to go in person, you can order this little box online and take the test in the privacy of your own home. It’s also portable, so you can have a spare in your house if sex suddenly becomes a part of the evening’s activities.

Safe sex or no sex

Condoms are not 100% disease preventing, but they do help. The blame does not only fall on the men doing the infecting, but also the women partaking in activities that opens them up to being infected. Some women fall for the rope-a-dope and let men enter her lady parts unprotected, due to common excuses like “it feels better without the condom”, “I’m clean, I swear”, or “If you loved me you’d let me go raw”. Exercise the power of no by drawing a hard line in the sand by denying access to any unwrapped packages.

Get tested regularly

If you decide to take it to the next step in your relationship, make the date you have before the horizontal tango be a couples’ STD panel. Do it every six months, or more frequently if you are partaking in high-risk behaviors.

Limit your sexual partners

In recent years there has been an uptick in hookup culture and casual sex being portrayed as “empowering” rather than dangerous. Maybe I’m a prude but I think the whole friends with benefits thing is lame and invites a whole world of avoidable problems. By limiting the number of sexual partners you have, not only do you reduce the chances of contracting something incurable, but it’s just easier.

Stop sexing black men

Get your pitchforks and torches, folks, she’s trying to pry black women away from the big bad wolf black cock. If most black women partake in banging the brothas, and quite a few are considered a high risk population, due to the downlow culture keeping them from living their truth out of the closet, then maybe the safest bet would be to limit access to any errant, infected penises.

If you live in an area where HIV is so rampant that black women are being encouraged to take a potentially liver and kidney damaging medication they don’t need to take, rather, it’s prophylactic, then maybe it’s time to reconsider the population you’re sexing. I’m not saying nonblack men are these puritanical, disease-free beings, but black women aren’t getting spontaneously infected out of nowhere, either. However, if you pursue interracial romance, the same precautions listed above apply. HIV will infect you just the same from a pink dick just like a black one, so taking measures to keep you healthy and safe transcends racial lines.

Now more than ever it continues to be a difficult time navigating the sexual marketplace as a black woman. Make sure you’re always putting your health first by ensuring your safety by any means necessary.

And if all else fails, there’s always abstinence, batteries, and 100% disease free vibrator.

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