Knowing your HIV status is all about putting your self-care first. Too often, we let negative attitudes towards sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or the fear of discrimination, stop us from being informed about our health. As Black women, it’s important for us to be aware of the reality of HIV and how it is impacting our community.
This means that about 60% of women who are testing positive for HIV in Ontario are Black. We have the power to help bring this number down, by knowing our HIV status. As Black women, it is important that we prioritize our health and make regular HIV testing a part of our radical self-care.
Knowing your status will give you peace of mind and the strength to take control of your health. Did you know that people who test positive for HIV, especially when diagnosed early, can go on to live healthy and productive lives? There is great support in our community and the treatment options for HIV have advanced exponentially, allowing people to continue living the lives they want. The earlier you know your status the better your health outcomes.
Anytime you have unprotected sex you could be exposed to HIV. Even if it is only occasional, you should know your status if you have ever had sex without a condom.
Anytime you engage in unprotected sex can lead to exposure to HIV. An undiagnosed partner can transmit the virus even if you both are holding true to your monogamous relationship.
The rates of heterosexual transmission in our community are rising. Self-care goes deeper than the skin. Get tested if you or your partner have previously had sex without the protection of a condom.
You can enjoy healthy sexual relationships and live a full life if you, or your partner is HIV positive. Treatment is available and when taken, can help to maintain an undetectable level of the virus, which cannot be passed on. Take control of your sexual health and know your status.
If you are a Black woman between the ages of 29-49, you are in the group that is showing higher rates of HIV infection. Early detection is important in order to live a full, healthy life.