Prevention is the only cure
01. What steps can I take to stay HIV free?
Know the facts about HIV/Aids. Wait until you're older to have sex and then only when you're in a long-term, loving relationship. Have only one sexual partner and remain faithful to your partner. Always use a condom if you're sexually active (even during oral sex) – this prevents sexual bodily fluids from coming in to contact with each other. Get tested for HIV and go with your partner if you have one – isn't that the ultimate sign of commitment?
02. What's all this fuss about male circumcision?
Listen up, guys: circumcision can reduce the risk of getting HIV by 60% BUT (and this is a big BUT) you still need to use a condom. You can go for medical circumcision – traditional circumcision does not offer the same protection. And if you have already been traditionally circumcised, you can still get medical circumcision – with your consent, of course. If you're medically circumcised, you're also less likely to get herpes and other STIs. The cool thing is that the more men who are medically circumcised, the fewer will get infected with HIV – and the fewer men with HIV means the lower your chances as a chica to get the virus if you're sexually active. But don't put on your party clothes just yet – you still need to use a condom and stick to one partner if we're gonna take control of this virus. Circumcision is NOT a cure.
03. Are there alternatives to having penetrative sex?
You want to abstain but your hormones are making you feel hot and heavy... Just remember that sex doesn't equal love, so ask yourself if you wanna take the plunge for the right reasons. You and your boo can still have a relationship without going all the way. Things like hugging, kissing or stroking each other's sensitive parts can also be expressions of affection. Remember that the exchange of bodily fluids can put you at risk of getting the virus; while only touching the outside of your sweetheart is a lot safer. You've got your whole life for sexy fun...
04. Do I still need to take precautions if I'm HIV positive?
Yebo! Even if you're positive – and on treatment – the same healthy lifestyle message applies: Find safe ways to enjoy your sexuality (masturbate, touch your partner without penetration or allowing your body fluids to mix). Always use a condom during penetrative and oral sex – you can still spread the virus even if you're on ARVs! Even if you and your partner are BOTH positive, you still need to practise safe sex. This is because you can re-infect your partner with sub-strains of HIV and worsen one another's health. You could even re-infect your sweetheart with a drug-resistant strain of HIV – not a good way to show the love, right? Eat as healthily as you can and keep fit by exercising regularly to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. See a doctor or a nurse regularly to check your CD4 count is under control.