As we are preparing to go back to a “New Normal” style of life, I found that I was asking myself – will hook-ups ever be the same?

As we all know, before the days of isolation we could easily swipe on our phones until we found the right match and just like that, we would have a date for the evening. Now, I find myself swiping endlessly but feeling unsatisfied by the simple fact that I know there is no date at the end of it, at least for now anyway. For many it may have just been a spontaneous, one-night stand but for others, the potential of finding the ‘right one’ was there, and all from a single swipe. Regardless of whether you are planning to search for a spontaneous or more of an exclusive type of sex after isolation, we should all test ourselves now.

The internet makes searching for love a little easier, but it has also brought to light that even though you may be able to see the person on your screen, are they really who they say they are? This is something we consider when hooking up online but rarely do we ever assume that someone may be masking their sexual health or status online. So, let’s talk about the “invisible” one, that not many want to talk about – STIs. When hooking up with someone new, it is always important to practice safe sex, whether you know their status or not. The majority of people subconsciously do but every once in a while, there may be a moment of… Oops, I did it again! I know that personally I have been in that same situation and oh boy the worries in my head. Days upon days and weeks thereafter I would drive myself crazy thinking about whether it was worth it, if only I had been safer. Fortunately, I have been very lucky, but I still worry that I am not being safe enough, it could only take that one time with someone of an unknown status for an infection to be transmitted. We shouldn’t have to beat ourselves up about it, yes, we should all be careful but sometimes things do not go as planned and really the only way to really be safe is to know yours and your sexual partners status’. Prevention is also better than a cure – and for HIV currently there is no cure, treatment is available and sustainable but really, we should be focused on trying to prevent the virus rather than treating it. We understand that this is not always the case with HIV, but the more common STIs can be prevented by using protection. The more people that know their status, the quicker we can break the chain.

Society still makes it hard for people to talk about sex. The taboo surrounding sex is so ridiculous, it is almost like no one is having sex. This should not be the case. We should be able to talk about sex effortlessly, without judgement. I remember years ago, before self-testing, having to visit a clinic with my then boyfriend. The doctor would ask me simple questions, but I still remember to this day feeling so uncomfortable as she questioned me with a slight hint of judgement… and that was coming from a doctor. As I grew older, my self-confidence grew also and every time I felt I wanted to make the relationship more exclusive, I asked my partner: Shall we get tested together? I thought that testing together would be empowering and expand our trust in the relationship… I was right! No ifs, no buts, let’s just do it! Nowadays, we have the facilities and the means to test, so why not do it together? We can take control of our sexual health.

It is so important to #KnowYourStatus and to know your partners’ status also. Testing together takes the ‘elephant out the room’. What I am saying is that at the end of the day if you and your partner are comfortable and want to keep each other safe, it always better to know each other’s statuses and by testing together you may enjoy sex even more with no worries. So whilst you are in isolation, why not test?

#KnowYourStatus #TakeControl #BeSure #BeBioSure

 

By Izabel W