December 1st was World AIDS Day. Not many people realize that HIV/AIDS remains as one of the top ten killers among African Americans. There is no preventative vaccine for HIV or cure for viral STD’s or AIDS, but there are ways you can protect yourself.
The Aids Community Research Consortium (ACRC) is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to empowering people and communities for better health and quality of life and to address the needs of those infected and affected by HIV and Hepatitis C. If you would like to help those affected and support programs to prevent AIDS, consider a car donation to ACRC.
Here are 6 ways to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases:
The only sure way to avoid contracting HIV or any other STD is by not having sex. Although this may not be a choice most people make, it can bring the most peace of mind. Being sexually intimate can be saved until two people are ready to make a monogamous commitment to each other.
2. Consistently Practice Safe Sex
Ensure that you and your partner agree on safe sex methods and birth control. This may include the use of latex condoms every time you have sex. Avoid sharing underclothing or towels and wash before and after intercourse. Be sure that both of you are ready to commit to a relationship that is mutually exclusive.
3. Get Tested
If you have had in the past, or currently have multiple sexual partners, it’s imperative that you have STD testing done on a regular basis. HIV and other STDs may take a few months before they appear on test results. If you are sexually active, it’s best to scheduling STD screenings several times throughout the year.
4. Limit or Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
When you are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, it can lead to poor decision making. It becomes easier to give in to having unprotected sex. Decide ahead of time that you will not be having sex and stick to your decision. Making the decision early before the influence of a few drinks and attraction may help you avoid getting an STD.
5. Be Responsible for Yourself
Do not rely on anyone else for your sexual health. If there is a possibility of having sex, you should have a condom with you. If neither you or your partner have a condom, then both of you should wait.
6. Limit Your Sexual Partners
You can reduce your chances of being infected by limiting your sexual partners. Consider creating a “before sex” list of things like: being in a monogamous relationship, dating for 6 months (or other time you feel is right), willingness to be tested, willingness to use condoms, etc. Limit your sexual partners to persons who share your values, or consider waiting to have sex until you are in a monogamous commitment with your partner.