I am a Woman and I Take Care of Myself From HIV
Women are stepping stronger in all areas. Little by little, we have been convinced of our value and now we have more confidence to make ourselves heard, especially when it comes to defending our rights. And what right is more valuable than the right to our own health?
Yes, the first human right is the right to life, but when we speak of infections like HIV, we are also talking about the two guarantees (life and health) which we want to protect.
When it comes to protecting ourselves from HIV, women must take action and seek by all means that our voice is respected. Gone are the days when important decisions were made only by the men in our lives.
The first thing to take into account in to protect yourself from HIV is to acknowledge that we are all at risk whenever we have unprotected sex, no matter the circumstances. For example, it was once thought that only sex workers were exposed. Later it was believed that those who had many partners (or more than one) were the ones who could acquire the infection.
Take HIV Protection in Your Own Hands
Today we know that vulnerability doesn’t have to do with the “morality” of women, but rather with other factors, such as biological and social. Strictly physical, vaginal intercourse exposes women more to an infection because the vagina has a greater surface through which the virus carried by the semen can enter and the fact that this semen remains in the body for several days means a big risk.
On the other hand, social factors such as gender-based violence put women at a disadvantage. It is important to raise awareness about the ways in which this violence manifests itself, from manipulation or psychological blackmail to rape itself.
Fortunately, there are a lot of resources for women to make better decisions about their sex lives, and the first step you can take in this direction is to use a condom in all your sexual relationships. If you have a stable partner, you could choose not to use a condom, although you should be aware that a fidelity promise is easier to break than a condom.
If, because of being in a relationship, you decided not to use a condom, another action you can take to take care of your health is to get tested for HIV regularly, once a year. This will make it possible for you to start your care and treatment as soon as possible if you do become infected, and thus stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
At AHF Latam & Caribbean we offer free condoms, HIV and STI tests in most of our centers and allied centers. To locate one near you, visit: https://ahflatamycaribe.org/en/services-in-latin-america/