What's Love Got to Do With It?
February 10, 2011
"I've been thinking of a new direction But I have to say I've been thinking about my own protection It scares me to feel this way."
From ordering flowers to buying chocolates and making Valentine's Day dinner reservations, people all over the country are thinking about love this week. During this time of year, I often marvel at the things we do in the name of love and what we call love.
So what does love got to do with HIV/AIDS? Let's look at some common reasons why, supposedly in the name of love, we don't protect ourselves against HIV.
I get it. Human beings crave intimacy. And sometimes there seems to be no limit to how far we will go and what we will do in our quest for it. This is particularly true for those of us who have been deprived of intimacy, marginalized within society or convinced that we are not deserving of intimacy, affection or love. Women, men who have sex with men and disenfranchised youth often share this experience. As a result, we confuse a lot of thingslust, loneliness, fearwith love. And that confusion can sometimes be deadly.
Self love is the most important kind of love. Looking for love from someone else prior to learning to love ourselves is a very dangerous endeavor. If we love ourselves, we understand the importance of protecting ourselves. We understand that doing so communicates to others that we are worthy of love. But most importantly self love provides a barrier against those who would do us harm.
Self love is also the bridge to being loved by others. If we don't love ourselves, it is very difficult for someone else to truly love us, and, on the rare occasion when it does happen, it is almost impossible to identify.
When we love ourselves, we are better able to distinguish between true love, fantasies and the desperate longing for intimacy. When we love ourselves, we know when he says, "Come on baby, we don't need a condom; you know I love you," he really doesn't. When we love ourselves, and she says, "I don't need to get tested for HIV; I love you," we know that she doesn't.
Yours in the struggle,
This article was provided by The Black AIDS Institute. Visit Black AIDS Institute's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
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