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Youshouldknow.ca: Sexual health science, culture and news for women edging to middle age, parents and educators. Find info on sexually transmitted infections, relationship dynamics, aging and sexual health, and sex education.

Still Know “Enough” About HIV?

Do you know less about HIV than you did nine years ago? If I didn’t work in the field, I’d probably say yes.Treatments have evolved and life expectancy has changed for the better if you have access to treatment (that’s a big one).  There is a medication than can be taken to reduce the risk of transmission if you’re exposed to HIV. That’s great stuff in nine years.  Question Mark Concept

Surveys tracking Canadians’ awareness and knowledge about HIV show that those in their boomer years feel they know less now than they did nine years ago. It makes sense- given the advances in HIV research and care, you don’t see it in the headlines the way you did ten or twenty years ago. If you’re not directly affected, why would you need to know? That’s an important question. Survey respondents of all ages said they are less likely to know about HIV transmission. That’s info you want.

Given that one way HIV is transmitted is sexually, I’ll throw this bit in too- boomers were less likely to use condoms during sex. The good old condom is a fantastic tool for preventing HIV transmission (and some other STIs) during vaginal or anal sex. They are also great for use with sex toys- switching a toy between partners is quick and safe if you’re using a new condom for each.

While HIV rates aren’t as high for women as they are for men, the risk is still present. If you want to remind yourself of HIV transmission and how to be healthy, check out how to protect yourself and how to negotiate condom use. Think about talking about this stuff with your kids too- they’ll need it (eventually) as well. While HIV care has improved dramatically, HIV is still no picnic.


Janet  |  @janet_madsen

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