HIV and STD testing are a no-brainer when it comes to casual hookups, partners you’re dating on a semi-regular basis, and even monogamous relationships, but an area that seems to get a little tricky — for some — is the idea of continuing these tests after marriage.
This past weekend, I attended the Blogalicious Five Conference in Atlanta, and in a relationships panel, Jacque Reid, Demetria Lucas, Telisha Ng, and OBGYN Dr. Tosha Rogers Jones, discussed the topic of safe sex, based around the new OraQuick at-home HIV testing kit. Once the discussion moved past the usual subjects of when to bring up testing, whether you should get tested together, and the awkwardness of trying this test at home, Dr. Jones spoke on how frequently couples should get tested and recommended partners doing so once every year — even after marriage. And that’s when the ball dropped.
From the women seated at my table alone, I heard remarks of disbelief as a few questioned, “after you’re married?” More than one woman gasped and a couple more added that their husbands would not go for that. To those reactions, Dr. Jones simply restated, “yes, after marriage.”
Not being married myself, I can’t say whether this would be a pleasant conversation to have with my non-existent husband, but what I do know is that this doesn’t sound like a bad idea — in fact it sounds like a damn good one. Over the course of a 10-, 20-, 30-, 40-plus year marriage, who’s to say someone won’t slip up? I’d much rather deal with the issue of infidelity when it’s not compounded by concerns over my sexual and reproductive health. There’s also the issue of some diseases just not showing up rapidly. Let’s say you meet, begin dating, get engaged to, and marry someone all in the course of six months to a year — when those initial test results come back negative, can you really be certain that there’s nothing else lurking under the surface that hasn’t shown up yet?
I get that walking down the aisle with someone and vowing to love, honor, and obey them all the days of your lives carries with it an expectation of unwavering trust, but I don’t think requiring annual STD and HIV testing has to be looked at as an, “I’m about to catch this mother f***er up if he’s been cheating on me” scenario — particularly if this is a routine you establish early on in your relationship. Two women at the conference — one engaged, the other married — shared that they get tested with their partners every year on World Aids Day as more of a social awareness thing, as opposed to a relationship checkup and that works well for them. That’s the approach I’d like to bring into my future relationship so that testing becomes a part of our annual doctor’s appointments like anything else — and at the same time if something does comes up funny, I know who I’m coming to with questions. JK!
For women who haven’t already established this testing routine, I can imagine their husbands hit them with the side-eye should they all of a sudden, a few years into their marriage, suggest annual testing. But like Demetria shared, just blame it on the doctor. Say, “Hey my doc told me we should be getting tested annually as a preventative measure and I agree with her, so let’s make it happ’n capp’n.” And like Jacque Reid pointed out, any man who is adamant about not wanting to get tested has something to hide. Therefore, his reluctance may be all the answer you need when it comes to the health of both your body and your relationship, know what I’m saying?
Again, as a non-married woman, I can’t speak on the delicacies of a union declared before God and how someone may get into their feelings when it comes to a sensitive subject like this. So, married ladies, tell me what you think about demanding STD and HIV testing after you jump the broom. Would you do it?