HIV Prevention-Get Tested
Oct 24, 2007
Dr. Bob: Hello from Kansas. I've written before about some of the questions from your readers. I have to say the majority of people have legitimate questions/concerns. I wonder how many of your readers have been educated about sex vis a vie abstinence only sex-ed. I would have to comment that the recent events in which schools passed out condoms and birth control pills is encouraging. Why do you think we're so ashamed of our bodies / sexuality?
My question: Wouldn't it make sense to be tested for HIV every two years or more often if there has been risky behavior involved? How can I reach out to HIV+ people who seem isolated and with no voice? I think Stigma is still a huge problem for anyone who has HIV.
Response from Dr. Frascino
The questioners who write in with little or no scientific knowledge about STDs, STD prevention, HIV transmission, etc. are usually easy to spot and chances are they were either home schooled or a victim of abstinence-only sex education. There are now an impressive number of excellent scientific studies showing that abstinence-only sex education not only is not helpful, but in many cases, it's harmful. (Check the archives for details.)
As for why people are so ashamed of their bodies, I could write a ten page essay on that, but it's beyond the scope of this HIV information forum. Let's just say Dubya's science-phobic, religion-based, abstinence-only sex education programs are contributing to the problem. (Is it 2008 yet?)
Finally to your question . . . . If someone has had risky behavior, they should be tested three months after the last potential exposure. For sexually active folks with multiple partners, routine STD/HIV testing is recommended by most guidelines every 6-12 months.
As for connecting with HIVers, check with your local AIDS service organizations or local HIV/AIDS support groups. Stigma is definitely still a major issue surrounding HIV/AIDS.
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