Last year, I posted a picture of my father for World AIDS Day. I received an amazing amount of support from you all and I am so thankful for that. As December 1st approached this year, I struggled with whether or not to blog about my father again. I discussed it with my husband and he encouraged me to share if it were important to me. It is.
My father was and is very important to me. The older I get, I find myself missing him more, especially when my children reach milestones that I wish he were here to see. There have been times during my marriage that I could’ve used his counsel as well. Yesterday, as my family and I were discussing what an ‘engagement’ was, my youngest daughter asked what a ‘proposal’ was. I explained that it’s when a man goes to his girlfriend’s father to ask for her hand in marriage. After explaining it to her, I became sad thinking about how much my father has always meant to me.
In his honor, I’d like to share with you 5 ways to protect yourself from AIDS.
1. Know Your Status
It’s scary to even imagine hearing the words, “You are HIV positive.” While I am blessed to have never heard those words, I do know that it is important for me to get tested every year. Why? Because my father was a married man when he tested positive. No one is immune to HIV. My children need me to take care of them, so I must first take care of me and I do this by knowing my status.
Sentimental childhood photos of me with my father
2. Know that HIV is NOT a death sentence
You are NOT a bad person because you have HIV. HIV, a human immunodeficiency virus, is a disease that if managed properly can provide life long results. Over the years, many cases have proven that though there isn’t a cure, thousands of people are finding it easier to live with HIV, especially when it’s detected early. Visit Healthline to learn how to join an online support group during times of need.
3. Don’t engage in risky behavior
Do not share needles. Do no have unprotected sex. Do not sleep with both men and women. If you choose to, it is your responsibility to immediately let each party know that you are actively engaging in sexual activity with both sexes. Not only is doing this medically safe, but it can save heartache in the long run.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions..and get tested together
If your sexual partner is apprehensive about disclosing their status or about being tested, they should no longer be your partner of choice! No one is worth your health, so do not let a moment of pleasure cloud your judgement.
5. Get regular checkups and be honest with your healthcare provider
Obamacare has given everyone the luxury to rightfully see a doctor when in need. There are also many free and/or low cost clinics sweeping the nation. At your appointment, it’s imperative that you’re honest with your doctor about your sex regimen so that they may provide you with the best care possible. To find an STD clinic near you, visit Your STD Help for more information.
Don’t let today be in vain. Get tested on World AIDS Day and encourage those around you to do the same. AIDS has a face, so it’s important to always know your status.