Please Abstain From Telling Us To Promote Abstinence HIV Culture Artcile

Please Abstain From Telling Us To Promote Abstinence

Please Abstain From Telling Us To Promote Abstinence HIV Culture Artcile

Please Abstain From Telling Us To Promote Abstinence


One thing the most creative of homophobes all say is, “have you tried just not having sex?”

Not only is this a tedious, worn out response that comes directly from a place of intolerance and privilege – it, quite simply, doesn’t work.

Here are three reasons (we don’t need many) why this approach helps no one:

  1. Promoting only abstinence doesn’t equip anyone with the tools to deal with any situation other than not having sex.
    Robust sex-education gives people the information they need about consent, prevention and testing, which allows them to navigate multiple situations and make decisions based on how they actually feel and what they understand the risk to be. Just look at the rates of STIs and unwanted pregnancies and the failure to delay the time taken to lose virginity in abstinence-only education states in the US to see that this has been proven completely ineffective.
  2. If abstinence is the “prevailing” ideal, then anything other than abstaining is instantly othered and forced underground.
    This means we lose a connection with those people who don’t want to abstain (also, why should they have to?) and any knowledge that would have been beneficial to keeping them safe will never get through. They will be doing it anyway, only now they have no access to non-judgmental harm-reduction information that could have helped them make informed decisions.
  3. Regardless of what blinkered lens you might be using to view life – people do not stop having sex.
    All throughout history, even those proclaiming the fire-and-brimstone damnation promised to those who have sex out of wedlock have been embroiled in scandals and continue to have sex. So, if even those most devout still choose to get it on – why would we ever want to stop people having healthy sex-lives that they can enjoy safely with the right information and tools? So, you can shout that you stayed “pure” until marriage and only had sex with one person until you’re sore in the throat – that’s still your choice, and kudos to your dedication if that’s what you wanted to do. But others do not need to prescribe to that outlook and it’s irresponsible to recommend that be the only way things should be done. If you chose abstinence, you quite literally got to choose to make that decision – taking that choice away for others can only be harmful.

Educating people and helping them become equipped to make their own decisions is always better than restricting their options and telling them that there’s only one way to be. So, let’s just shut that conversation down right now.

Click here if want information on HIV and STI prevention. Find out how more about testing or use the tool below to find out how often you should be testing.

How Often Should I Test?

To maintain good sexual health and to help end HIV, we need to test more frequently. Find out how often you should test.

Are you a man (this includes trans men) who has sex with other men?

Are you a trans woman or gender diverse person who has sex with men?

Are you in a closed, monogamous relationship?

Is your partner living with HIV?

Do you use a condom every time you have penetrative sex?

Do they have an undetectable viral load?

How many sexual partners have you had in the last 6 months?

How many sexual partners have you had in the last 6 months?

Once a year

Based on your answers, you are most likely at low risk of contracting HIV and should be testing for HIV & STIs once a year as part of an annual health check.

If you’re concerned about your personal risk, we would recommend speaking to your doctor and explaining why you think you might be at risk or find a testing service right for you here.

Once a year

Evidence of HIV can sometimes not be detected by a test for up to three months. If you and your partner decide that you no longer want to use condoms or PrEP you will need to be monogamous for at least three months, and then both receive a negative HIV test result.

After this, we'd recommend testing for HIV once a year, as part of an annual health check-up.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text or email

Because your partner is undetectable there is no risk of you contracting HIV.

You would need to be testing if your partner experiences a treatment interruption.

Every Six Months

If your partner doesn’t have an undetectable viral load then you should be using condoms or PrEP

We recommend getting an HIV test every six months.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text or email.

Once a year

We recommend getting an HIV test and a full STI screen once a year.

With regular, consistent condom use it is unlikely that you have contracted HIV. But, other STIs like syphilis and gonorrhoea can still be easily transmitted through oral sex, rimming or even using spit as lube.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text or email

Every Six Months

We recommend getting an HIV test and a full STI screen every six months.

With regular, consistent condom use it is unlikely that you have contracted HIV. But, other STIs like syphilis and gonorrhoea can still be easily transmitted through oral sex, rimming or even using spit as lube.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text or email.

Every Three months

Based on your answers, we recommend getting an HIV test and a full STI screen every three months.

With regular, consistent condom use it is unlikely that you have contracted HIV. But, other STIs like syphilis and gonorrhoea can still be easily transmitted through oral sex, rimming or even using spit as lube.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text.

Once a year

Based on your answers, we recommend getting an HIV test and a full STI screen once a year.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text or email

As you struggle with consistent condom use, you should consider taking PrEP to stay safe.

Every Six Months

Based on your answers, we recommend getting an HIV test and a full STI screen every six months.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text or email.

As you struggle with consistent condom use, you should consider taking PrEP to stay safe.

Every Three Months

If you're having unprotected sex with casual partners, then you're at high risk of HIV. You need to be testing every three months.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text.

As you struggle with consistent condom use, you should consider taking PrEP to stay safe.

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