Thursday, December 1, 2011

World AIDS DAY... Hydeia Broadbent Discusses Dating With HIV/AIDS

Today is World AIDS Day, a day to honor those living with HIV/AIDS and to celebrate the many medical breakthroughs discovered.  While it's a blessing that this illness is no longer a death sentence, it's extremely important that we know the ways to prevent it.  I know it's easy to say use condoms and IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO DO SO.  But, I think the most important thing to do is to consistently be tested so that you know your status. Just a few weeks ago I was speaking with a grown man (in his 30s) that stated he had never been tested because he was "scared."  REALLY?  I won't lie, getting tested is one of  the scariest things ever.  I don't care who you are, how many condoms you've used or how many partners you've had.  If you're not a virgin, THAT SH*T IS SCARY (please also be aware that this is NOT a disease of promiscuity)!! So,  KNOW YOUR STATUS and WRAP IT UP!!

Anywho, last week a FB friend of mine asked her friends this queston "You're dating a person for 3 months, everything was going great... he/she finally tells you that he/she is HIV positive. What would you do?"  I was SHOCKED at some of the responses.  Some people actually said they would try to work through it, but of course, MOST people said they would run.  One person even said that a family member of hers was with a man for 15 years and 3 years into their relationship they found out he was HIV positive.  In 3 years she had not contracted the disease, and they even had a child together during that time. She stayed with him another 12 years after the fact and never contracted HIV (that REALLY confused me). Whatever your answer to this question would be, it wouldn't be an easy one. 

 Hydeia Broadbent is a 27 year old HIV positive activist that was born with the disease.  She spoke with Loop21 about dating with HIV, check MORE DISH to read that interview.

Loop 21: What do you think has improved in terms of people’s understanding of and attitudes towards HIV and AIDS?

Hydeia Broadbent: I believe the younger generation tends to be de-sensitized, because they don't really know how huge an issue HIV/AIDS was in the 80s.

My 19-year-old sister [who is positive] has no problem dating guys her age. They are so open and not afraid, not like the guys my age who remember growing up afraid of getting AIDS. While that’s good for my sister's generation, it’s kind of scary because there isn't a sense of fear. I think my generation let them down because we forgot to inform and show them the true reality of AIDS.

Loop 21: If you're HIV-positive, when do you disclose your status? On the date? Before a date? As soon as you meet? As soon as you're interested?

Broadbent: I have a three-date rule. By the third date is when it's time to let someone know—but a lot of people don't start dating until after they have already had sex. You need to let your partner know before you take it that far.

If the person rejects you, then look at the bright side—at least you find out sooner then later what type of person they really were.

Loop 21: Once you’ve told someone you’re involved with (or hope to be involved with) that you are HIV-positive, what are the best questions he or she can ask to help things move forward?

Broadbent: The best question: "What are the ways I can stay negative?"

It’s important that people understand a person's first reaction may be fear. Make sure you have all the answers to their questions and be willing to take that person with you to a doctor’s visit so they can ask other things themselves. I made such a point of taking my ex-boyfriend with me that my doctor would ask where he was if he didn't see him by my side.

Loop 21: In all of your activist work and speaking engagements, what is the main thing people want to ask you about dating someone with HIV?

Broadbent: "Can you have sex or have children?" The answer is yes, I can. I have engaged in a healthy monogamous relationship. Currently, I choose to abstain. Due to advancements in medicine, a person, male or female, can get married and have children without passing HIV onto their loved ones.

Loop 21: We often hear that condom use is down…

Broadbent: A study recently said that condom use is up! However, I don't feel enough [teens or twenty-somethings] are practicing safe sex because not enough adults are talking to the youth about sex and how to stay safe.

Loop 21: What's the best way to encourage people to practice safe sex?

Broadbent: Be real with them about what can happen if they don't. Simply by Googling pictures of STD outbreaks can be a wake-up. Or let people know there is no cure for AIDS and not everyone has access to the life-saving medications they may need. If you don't have health insurance, it could cost almost $4000 a month for medications and that doesn't include the cost for doctor’s visits, blood tests or other medications you may need.

At the end of the day, safe sex or no sex is better then a positive test result. Please remember people are still dying—maybe not at an alarming rate, but some do lose their fight against AIDS.

If you'd like to read more about World AIDS Day you can check out their site here.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails