With so many people in South Africa infected by HIV, everyone is at risk of contracting the virus. From the day you become sexually active, you become part of a network of other sexually active people. It is not difficult to avoid HIV infection if you follow three simple rules:
- Always use a condom correctly when you have sex.
- Go for MMC
- Do not have many sexual partners
Fear, Dishonesty and Stigma
HIV is usually a sexually transmitted disease, and many of us carry secrets about our sex lives. Secrets spread HIV because it stops people disclosing to partners and puts them at risk. A man who knows he is HIV positive and doesn't tell a partner because he is scared of losing her is spreading the disease. A person who won't go to the clinic for HCT because he is scared of what people will say may be HIV positive and may spread the disease. HIV forces us to think about how we want to live our lives and what kind of people we want to be. Find stories here from people who are living with HIV.
Having more than one sexual partner at the same time puts you at risk of HIV, as each partner may have had a relationship in the past, or still be in a relationship with someone who is HIV positive. There are two things you can do to reduce risk: don't have more than one sexual partner in your life at any one time, and always use condoms.
Older men and younger women
Young women (aged 15 - 24) are being infected with HIV more than any other group in South Africa - around 10,000 new infections a month. Studies show that the men infecting these young women are older, usually 24 and above, and that the women are going into these relationships because they need or want something from the men. Often they sleep with the men just to get money to survive, or feed their families, or go to school. These young women are easy to exploit and often powerless. For the men who sleep with them, we say one thing: wear a condom. Yenzakahle!