You may find it awkward or uncomfortable to talk about prevention or tests for various sexually transmitted infections — you may be afraid of offending your partner or of getting a reputation as someone who’s overly cautious or mistrustful.
If that’s the case, you have to put care for your health at the center of the equation.
“Test culture” is already well-developed in America and Europe but, in Russia, asking for a test result before engaging in intercourse isn’t customary.
How to suggest to your partner that they take the test without offending them.
Before starting a conversation about an HIV test, find out from your partner what he or she thinks about the virus.
Suggest that they read an article, discuss the statistics or share your own opinion. Share what you know about the “Undetectable = Untransmittable” principle, thanks to which you can plan for a family, even if one of the partners has HIV.
And then get to the heart of the matter: “Maybe we should get tested?”
If you want to convince your partner to take the test, you have to be prepared to take it yourself. You can’t say “Why me? It’s obvious that I’m healthy,” or “You’ve had more sexual partners.”
Say that it would make sense for you to get your health checked out and suggest that your partner come along. Usually people refuse because they’re afraid of finding out their results. But it’s easier to do together and when you know that HIV is no longer a threat to your life or to the lives of your family.
Share your plans to have your health checked out before starting a conversation about the test. Show that you’re genuinely interested in your health and that the procedure is no cause for concern.
If you’ve recently taken the test, talk to your partner about the procedure and offer support. If over a year has passed since you took the test, you can take another.
When you suggest that your partner find out his or her HIV status, they might suspect that you doubt their love, their fidelity and their purity. Your job is to convince them that you’re just taking care of your future.
Tell them that sex is one of the main ways that HIV can be transmitted, and that the virus can be undetected for many years. Not everybody is in the habit of taking care of their health, even if they know about diseases that can be sexually transmitted.
Remember that no one is obliged to reveal their HIV status — it’s a voluntary decision.
In just the same way, no one is obliged to have sex without a condom — that’s another voluntary decision that we recommend that you only take if you have complete confidence in your safety and remember to take an HIV test annually (or, if one of the partners is HIV positive, if a certain load level is reached).