I've had this idea for a while now... but first thought to ask N@Wie friends at our ygroups instead of blogging about it. But since it's World AIDS Day, might as well blog about it for good... at our family blog.
Talk AIDS With Your partner. But please be open, gentle and non-judgmental about the things you do end up discussing. AIDS as a topic may be an intellectual discussion, or it could be a very personal one... as it may uncover past sexual histories that was glossed over during the courtship and wedding planning, or lead to discussions about sexual values you want to inculcate in your kids, or the possible scenario of having friends (and family) end up HIV positive.
If you're a woman, start the conversation with... "I've heard/read that some women, wives for that matter, are getting HIV from their husbands who are cheating (either with a fellow man or woman)." Talk about how scary that is, to trust a partner that may be experimenting at this stage of his life (with wife and kids to boot), why men wouldn't use protection with dalliances, how peace of mind should be an incentive for men to use condoms, etc.
Voice out your fears, double standards, even sterotypes and biases... let your spouse mirror yours or shoot it down... and let him reassure you.
If you've both had other sexual partners before, talk about the what could have beens... how either of you could have been infected without knowing and unknowingly brought HIV into the marriage. How would that make you feel? How do you think you'd have handled it? Would you have assumed the stricken party was unfaithful?
If you found out you were HIV positive, who would you tell first? Are you updated with the latest news about it... or do you still associate instant death with the virus? Do you still think only gay men can get it? Have you been sexually irresponsible, thinking you're immune?
And then... the even scarier part. With news of grade schoolers already in romantic, exclusive relationships... and some even starting sexual relations as early as 10 years old, how do you raise your child to be better than the 'norm'? How do you raise them empowered, informed and hopefully, self-preserving?
And, should a child end up becoming a person living with HIV, how do you think you'd feel? How do you think you can help?
The only good news about HIV is that breakthroughs in the medical field and awareness campaigns have allowed people living with HIV (PLHIV) to live longer, healthy lives... even go on to have careers, grow up (in case of babies/kids), maybe even find partners for life. But it is still a deadly disease that can make or break a man's spirit, or a family.
Talk to your partner about AIDS now. Maybe, in the off chance that HIV/AIDS comes too close to home, you'd both be better prepared for it.
Hubs and I have had this conversation more than once.