HIV and the Weather
Collectively mankind has learnt that by watching for signs in the natural world and by developing a calendar we can anticipate the seasons as they approach and prepare for them accordingly. In ancient times this knowledge was paramount to surviving in temperature extremes across the world.
Jump to Australia 2016, all we need to do is open a mobile app or watch the News to know what the weather will be like, and sometimes if you are lucky you’ll leave the house with the right set of clothes for the day. Likewise, with the knowledge we’ve learned about our bodies and health, we have the ability to diagnose and treat ailments to prevent major health issues; we’re able to take precautions to make sure we don’t start feeling “under the weather”.
It’s not raining at the moment, why bring an umbrella?
Even with the tech of today changes in weather can be sudden and fleeting; in that way it can be quite similar to sex. You might not always expect it, and when it comes it can be a great relief.
Surprise (sex) weather can catch the best of us off guard, so make sure that you practice safe sex whenever it occurs. This can mean anything from condoms to PrEP to any of the other safe sex strategies you can take.
Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning
You may be familiar with the proverb ‘Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning’ an old adage passed on to help predict the days weather ahead. So it shouldn’t be surprising that we’ve come to trust our own bodies to show symptoms when we get sick, but not all STI’s, HIV included, present obvious symptoms also called asymptomatic, which means that even if you are infected you will be showing no signs of illness. Therefore the only way to be sure is to test. And test regularly!
When the weather changes
The weather is constantly changing and shifting; just like the world around you it can be easy to become caught up in the rush of it all. That’s why it can be important to commit to a regular testing pattern, so that you can make sure you know your status whatever the weather.
How often should you test? That will depend on how on how many guys you have hooked up with. One easy way to work it out is by using the how often to test tool, but generally speaking if you are having sex you should be getting tested at least twice a year – that’s Summer and Winter, or Autumn and Spring.
Find your forecast:
So you’ve decided you are going in for a test (great!), a good place to start when finding out what the testing options are near you is through our where to test tool. Think of it like checking the forecast for the 3 months ahead. If you are in the Sydney area ACON also offers a free community based rapid HIV testing service called a[TEST]. It’s a free service for gay men, run by gay men around the greater Sydney.
While predicting the weather can be an arcane science, getting organised and thinking about your own testing patterns can help you enjoy your sex life and keep you happy and healthy.