Wednesday, May 18, 2005

HIV Testing And Dating

After I posted the question below about "What Is Dating?" I realized a discussion of HIV Testing and Dating was in order.

Since it's clear that everyone's notion of "dating" is rather ambiguous, you should assume the person you're dating is probably having sex with other people. I know a bunch of you are saying, "No Way! She told me she wasn't!" Believe whatever you want, but feel free to play russian roulette too.

I'm seeing this more and more with older guys dating younger women. Their idea of a monogamous dating situation and their younger woman partner's idea of "dating" are often at odds. That is, she's probably got a lot of opportunities to be fooling around with many guys -- guys her age, younger and older. And I think younger guys and girls ideas about bisexuality is very casual compared to the older generation. So there's a good chance she could be dating a young guy on the side who's got a young guy on the side. And no matter how sweet and educated and clean and smart she appears, she may be at risk and not know it.

So, it's always OKAY to ask about getting an HIV Test. It's almost become a romantic staple like candy and flowers. You should get one, your partner should get one.

But here's the tricky part. If someone is infected with HIV, it can take 6 months to show up on the test. So it's June, you've just met this great girl. She looks clean. She gets a test. She's honest enough to tell you she slept with someone else in May. Her June test is clean. Great, jump into bed with her. Nope.

She doesn't know (didn't ask for a test) if that last guy was clean. It takes 6 months from the time of that intercourse to be sure the HIV Test is telling you she has not been infected. If you want to be REALLY safe, do the math. She gets tested in June -- since she could have been infected in May those results won't be accurate for 6 months from May (= November). If she gets tested again in November and she's clean, bingo, have sex with her on Thanksgiving.

Now, everyone knows that no one who has a cute girl with them in June is going to wait until Thanksgiving to have sex! It's just not going to happen.

And that doesn't even discuss the issue of herpes which is very widespread. But that's another story.

So what does it all mean? Use condoms religiously and if you're strong enough to wait 6 full months to be sure an HIV Test is accurate, please do.