What is the first thing to do in a relationship?
I met this beautiful girl some years back, I was 22 and she was 18. We had a very romantic relationship. It was a great relationship that still remains one of my best relationship.
This is what she said to me then: “Brian we are not going to do anything until we get tested”. Since I had nothing to hide, I agreed to her request. In any case, it is not everyday that you get a partner who suggests an HIV test. So we went for testing.
The results came and the counsellor informed us that “you have different results”. I was really shocked, it turned out my girlfriend was HIV-positive.
I then realised that she had pushed for the test because she didn’t want to tell me but she wanted me to find out on in a “dignified” manner. She is one of the people I respect up to now, because who can do that?
Many people have a vengeance spirit. Since they were given by someone they want to give other people as well but she was different. The United Nations recently said that “Zimbabwe has 740 000 women between the age of 18 and 24 living with HIV, South Africa has 4,4 million and Mozambique 1,3 million”.
The report said this is due to two issues: “transactional relationships and age-gap relationships”. Today, 18-year-old are dating +40-year-old married men because they want financial support.
The truth is, if you date someone who is twice your age you have no control as you cannot make decisions, all you can do is to do whatever that man wants.
It is unfortunate that most old men don’t use condoms and young girls cannot insist on him using a condom. He is way older and has ridiculous authority over the young girl.
He is the kind of guy who when he calls, the young girl cannot give excuses because he is doling them money. It is true that money can buy one’s soul. Whoever gives you money has power over you.
How can you reason with someone who gives you R5 000, or US$300, and says “go and buy some clothes”. Obviously you will get the money but you will become part of the “plus 740 000 people between 18 and 24 living with HIV”.
The truth is some people won’t tell you if they are positive and if you end up with it, they don’t care because they also were given by people whom they trusted.
So what is the first thing to do before you formulate a strong relationship? It is wise that you get tested. We have to reduce HIV and make sure that we have an HIV-free generation by 2030.
So many girls seem to have no control especially when they surrender to anyone who is giving them money (they just watch being undressed and they say nothing even if protection is not available).
If this is a natural weakness then it is wise to go for testing before the act. There are those that preach the false gospel: “protected sex isn’t tasteful, when I do it I feel nothing”, “I don’t like it, I want the original taste”, “Have you ever eaten a sweet in its plastic pack?”
Such theories are killing our young generation. If people cannot abstain then we must advocate the consistent use of condoms.
I know of a church brother who went on to date for nine months then he paid the lobola. A night before the wedding someone whispered into his ears, “did you guys get tested?”
He hadn’t. And since it was too late, he proceeded with the wedding but the question haunted him. So he went his newly wedded wife for testing soon after the wedding. It turned out the wife was HIV-positive.
The truth is you cannot see who has it or not with your eyes. The days are gone when people used to show physical symptoms, all because of improved methods of treatment and healthy eating.
So what is the first thing to do, when you think you are falling in love? Get tested. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Brian Matsaira is a love and relationships coach and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org