When you’re a teenager making mistakes is a regular event, sometimes it can result in short term injuries, an addiction, loosing friends or family, or becoming seriously ill. I constantly make mistakes, whether that’s from choosing some toxic friends, not doing an essay when I have been given it or not paying my bills when I’m supposed too.
On the First of December I shaved all of my hair off for the Terrence Higgins Trust which is a charity that is at the forefront of the fight against HIV, Nobody understood the real reason as to why I did this, but last year, at the age of 18 I made one of the biggest mistakes that I could of ever done, which could have changed my life. I had unprotected sex and almost caught HIV.
Last year I had unprotected sex for the first time ever, I didn’t think anything off it as I automatically assumed that nothing would happen to me.
I can honestly admit that late last year I wasn’t educated on HIV & AIDS so when the individual who had first contracted HIV could have passed it onto myself, I flipped and went crazy due to my lack of understanding.
I got told Three days before Christmas that there was a 50% chance that I could have contracted HIV and that I needed to get checked out as soon as possible, which was daunting, heart breaking and I felt shameful. Having blood taken from me, random questions being asked and constantly being asked about my sexual orientation and gender made my Christmas worse. Throughout Christmas 2015 I constantly thought about different scenarios, how would I tell my family, would it effect future treatment?. I turned into an emotional mess.
On New Years Eve 2015 I got a text off the sexual health clinic which said that my results came back negative, but that didn’t clarify if I did or didn’t contract it. HIV can develop at different times within the body, usually after 3 months of having sexual contact. In June I got the final all clear to say that I hadn’t contracted HIV, so I was very lucky.
The medical advances towards HIV over the last 20 years have been dramatic, individuals who have been diagnosed with HIV can take medication which means that they can be as healthy as anyone who doesn’t have HIV and it can also allow them to enjoy sexual contact without the risk of spreading the virus, which is fantastic!
Earlier on this year I wrote a blog post about HIV Within the LGBT+ Community which you can read here.
I now encourage everybody around me to have safer sex, to ensure that they don’t catch any viruses, get pregnant or so that others aren’t at risk. Here are some of my Four top tips to keep you safe whilst you’re having fun –
- Ensure you use a condom when having anal or vaginal sex as it reduces your risk of getting pregnant, catching an STI or a sexual virus.
- Get tested every Three Months, if you have caught a virus like HIV it is more likely to appear. If you have sex regularly ensure that you get tested on a regular basis to ensure that your health / sexual partners health isn’t effected.
- Don’t be ashamed to ask your sexual partners status, whether it is a HIV status or previous STI’s that they may have had – there is no shame in asking.
- Have fun, but stay safe! – You don’t want to have the constant worry.
Have fun, stay safe, be honest and get tested!