My friends and I have a 'three-months-no-sex' rule when we start dating a new guy. After those three months, our ‘no-condom-no-sex’ rule kicks in. All girls should have these two rules.
So my friend started dating a certain guy last June. They were head-over-heels about each other. She thought she had found ‘The One' for her. All she spoke about was ‘my man this, my man that'.
We were supportive and happy for her. But we were worried that this state of being 'in love' might have led to her breaking rule number two.
One afternoon, she came to us in tears of joy. She and her man had gone for an HIV test together. She was negative. She seemed so relieved. We realised how worried she must have been.
She swore she would never again take the risk of unprotected sex.
We reminded her of the ‘window period’ for HIV, where her negative status might not be her real status. After months of putting it off, she went for a second HIV test.
This time, the result was positive.
We know she loved her new man – but love didn’t care how many other partners he had slept with, without protection. Love didn’t know if he was 100% safe.
We supported her through a tough time. The guy moved on. Our friend went on ARVs and today she is healthy and strong. We don’t know what happened to the guy or who else he might have infected.
Today, our friend is a community worker and advocates safe sex for young people in our neighbourhood. The first thing she says to young people is: ‘there are two rules… ‘.
During the three-month window period, an infected person's body is still fighting the HIV virus. But the virus can still win the battle. Play it safe and use a male or female condom every time you have sex.