The Triangle of Self Care (TSC) is an easy-to-remember guide to living a healthy sex life. TSC stands for the following important points:
If you’re sexually active, knowing your HIV status is a must. Earlier detection of the virus means better chances of survival because you can have early access to treatment and medication. Getting tested for the very first time may be unnerving to some, but conquering those nerves is a step in the right direction. In LoveYourself clinics, testing is completely anonymous, confidential, and free.
Testing nonreactive at the right time for HIV means you do not carry the virus, and that you can further educate yourself on how to remain HIV-free. Testing positive, on the other hand, means you carry the virus and can immediately get treatment, plus make the necessary lifestyle changes to live a long and productive life.
HIV has a window period (or the time between possible exposure to HIV and the point when the test can produce an accurate result) of three months, so regular testing every three months should be part of your routine if you’re sexually active. And remember that HIV infection may also be asymptomatic, meaning the person infected may look and feel perfectly healthy, so testing is really the way to go.
It’s engaging in risky sexual behaviors that can expose you to HIV, not your sexual orientation. Sex education and sex positivity are key to having a safe and satisfying sex life.
Be sure to keep yourself informed of the risks of your sexual acts. Read, and read only reliable sources. Ask experts, if you must. Keep updated on the latest news about sexual health and practices, HIV, and AIDS.
Communicate with your sexual partner and agree on ways through which you both can enjoy sex and stay safe. Just a couple of the things that can help you are condoms and lubricants., and treatments such as PreP and TasP.
Treatments like PreP and TasP can be taken in concurrence with safe sex practices and give further protection. PreP or pre-exposure prophylaxis can be used by serodiscordant couples, or when one is reactive while the other is non-reactive, to reduce the risk of the non-reactive person from acquiring the virus. TasP on the other hand, which includes ART, enables a reactive person to still engage in sexual activities and live a normal lifestyle. It is important to emphasize that these treatments should be used with safe sex practices such as wearing condoms and using water-based lubricants
Condoms and lubricants help significantly lower the risk of HIV infection when used correctly. They also prevent the spread of other STIs (sexually transmitted infections). By properly using condoms and water-based lubricants, you can be protected and rid of worries, and ultimately enjoy sex.
Different condoms and lubes are available on the market, so you can find something that fits your preference. For example, there are thinner yet very durable condoms that can make sex more pleasurable. Be sure to store your condoms and lubricants properly, and constantly check to see that they’re not expired.
Protecting yourself from HIV doesn’t mean not being able to enjoy sex. With the Triangle of Self Care – Timely Testing and Treatment, Safe and Satisfying Sex, and Correct and Consistent use of Condoms and Lubricants – you can stay happy, healthy, and sexually satisfied.