Ask Demetria: How to Ask Your Man to Get an HIV Test

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“I am ready to have sex with a guy I am dating, and I want to do the right thing and get tested [for HIV] first. I don’t know how to bring it up though. I tried to discuss getting tested with a man I dated before him. He was taking me to an appointment and there was a testing center nearby. I suggested on a whim that we get tested and he freaked out. He said he didn’t need to be tested and it was like I was telling him that I didn’t trust him. How can I avoid this happening again?” —Y.F.

I am proud of you for putting your health first. It’s because of women like you who have made getting tested and having safe sex a priority in their relationships that new HIV infections among black women declined 21 percent from 2008 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is amazing news.

Now, about that ex of yours. I’ve spent the last few months touring the country for “Life. As We Know It,” a frank discussion series on dating, relationships and safe sex. I’ve heard from many women who fear that asking their partner to get tested will elicit the same reaction that your ex gave. But I’ve heard from more women who have asked their mate something like, “Hey, I think we should get tested for HIV,” and his response was, more or less, “OK.”

The guy who flipped out sounds like a statistical anomaly. He implied that he had never been tested for HIV, and actually the majority of black people have been. In fact, also according to the CDC, blacks are “more likely than other races and ethnicities to report that they have been tested for HIV at least once—65 percent versus 46 percent for Hispanics/Latinos and 41 percent for whites.”

There are a couple of reasons he could have had that reaction with you. One, he’s not comfortable with the idea of getting tested. Maybe he’s engaged in risky behaviors, and he could be afraid of what the test results would show. Despite what he said about not needing to get tested, if he’s been sexually active, he does. Two, saying you don’t trust him was a weak way of dodging the issue at hand. He sounds quite sketchy. I hope that you did not have sex with him, or if you did, that you have been tested since then.

One thing I’d like to suggest going forward. Getting tested obviously can be a touchy topic for some people. I know you were trying to take advantage of the moment, but the idea of getting tested may go over better if you talk about it in a more comfortable environment instead of springing it on your partner in a public place. That could be a third reason he reacted that way.

Next time there’s a conversation about sex with the new guy—because there’s always a conversation—casually suggest that the two of you “get tested together.” Together is the key word.

 

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. This topic hits very close to home for me. In September of last year (2013) I found out that I contracted an incurable STD from my boyfriend. I was devastated! I’ve always been very health conscious, especially with my body and who I chose to share it with. In the past I have always practiced safe sex. My boyfriend and I were in a monogamous relationship and I trusted him enough to have sex with him without using protection. It’s crazy how knowledgeable I am about std’s but yet I failed to use protection. It never crossed my mind that my boyfriend had an std. He was responsible and intelligent so I assumed he was aware of his status. We never really discussed std testing until after I started having problems. Shortly after we started having sex, I started to have vaginal problems which I blew off as possibly a yeast infection or something minor. I went to the doctor and was treated for a common bacterial infection. I brought it to my boyfriend’s attention and he mentioned that he should probably get tested. He revealed to me that he got tested regularly every year but he also mentioned that he and the female he was dating prior to me were not using condoms and they started having sex after he got tested. I should have taken that as a red flag and insisted that he got tested then, but like I said I trusted him and I felt that he was responsible with his selection of prior partners. We continued to have sex without protection and my problems continued to persist…. I went to the doctor 2 more times after the first time I went. That was 3 times in a 6 month period but yet he never made time to go ONCE! His excuse was that he didn’t have time or that because the doctor said I was fine than that meant he was fine. He didn’t take into consideration that I hadn’t had sex in 4 years prior to dating him and that he had sex with other women prior to me within the last 2 years. So that should have let him know that he was more likely to have something before I would. After that last visit to the doctor I found out the news I never expected to hear, A blood test confirmed that I had tested positive for an STD. I was in disbelief, I never imagined that all of those problems I was having was the cause of an STD. I really couldn’t believe it and it was so hurtful to contract it from someone I was in a relationship with. Our relationship pretty much went down hill from there. I had so much animosity and rage towards him. When I told him that he gave me an STD he couldn’t believe it. He said he got tested regularly and that he never had signs or symptoms. He overlooked the fact that he had sex with someone prior to me without using a condom and he didn’t get tested afterwards. That slip up caused him to contract and std unknowingly and he passed it along to me. He also overlooked the fact that many people who have std’s have no signs or symptoms. He was apparently an asymptomatic carrier and the person he contracted it from was one as well. If I never would have had symptoms I probably would have never gone to get tested for the std he gave me. When I found out my status, my doctor told me my infection was very recent so it was something I could have contracted as early as 3 weeks prior to when I got tested. Do you know how upsetting that was and still is to know that if my boyfriend would have just went to the doctor the first time I asked him to go this could have been prevented! He was very hurt as well that he was the cause of me contracting this because he didn’t take the responsibility to get tested. At the end of the day I have to take responsibility for the part I played, I CHOSE to have sex without a condom and I put myself at risk. I’ve come to terms with my situation and I thank GOD that he didn’t give me AIDS. This situation has definitely changed my perspective on so many things. I was quote on quote “the good girl” but no one is invincible regardless of what type of person you are. Women need to do our parts by telling our men to step up when it comes to getting tested. Don’t compromise your health for a relationship and if he cares about you testing shouldn’t even be an issue. Get tested together and if he has a problem with that you need to let him go!

    • Candace662 says:

      How can this woman part her lips to say “she’s mad at her boyfriend, who wouldn’t get tested, and who claims to know the danger of unprotected sex! YOU, agreed to having sex with this man under those circumstances…. You should ONLY blame yourself!!

      • I should only blame myself? Don’t you think you’re being judgemental? I should blame myself for trusting a person that I cared about and was in a monogamous relationship with? This was a person who was just as health conscious as I was about practicing safe sex and getting tested regularly. He slipped up and didn’t use a condom with his previous girlfriend and just like I trusted him, he trusted the person before me and unknowingly contracted an STD. Situations like this happen all the time. Many people who have stds are asymptomatic carriers; they don’t realize they even have stds because they don’t display signs or symptoms. This isn’t a post to blame anyone, this is a post to highlight the importance of getting tested after every sexual partner.

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