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Talking about HIV: Knowledge is power.

CDC One Conversation at a Time Campaign web banner. Image of a middle aged Latina and a speech bubble with a message about the importance of having HIV conversations

This post is made possible by support from the We Can Stop HIV One Conversation at a Time campaign. All opinions are my own.

I’m a big believer that knowledge is power. When I was little I would turn to encyclopedias for that information. When I was older, I’d ask questions. As many other Hispanic-American adults know, there are many things that are taboo in Hispanic families. Of course, sex is one of them. So no, I never had conversations with my parents about sex or about HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases. I’m one of the lucky ones that managed to get that information myself. But it’s unfortunate that we don’t have more of these conversations with young people. It’s unfortunate that this information is not taught in schools. I’ve seen first-hand that many people are misinformed about what HIV is, what it is not, and how people contract the disease. What’s even scarier is that many people think they know but they don’t.

That’s why I’m delighted to partner with the CDC on this campaign, One Conversation at a Time, #OneConversation to encourage people to talk openly about HIV, something we desperately need in our community which represents about 20 percent of new HIV cases in the United States. Here are some other facts about how HIV is affecting our community:

OneConversation-HIV-Latino-Community-Facts

It’s so important to have knowledge and to have accurate and truthful knowledge and pass that knowledge along. People are sometimes afraid to talk about diseases… but just because you talk about it, does not mean it’s going to happen to you. Actually, quite the opposite: the more you talk about it, the more likely you will be to protect yourself because you will KNOW how to do so.

We have to know the facts and here are some of the facts:

1. The only way to completely protect yourself against HIV is to not have sex.

2. ONLY condoms offer protection against HIV– the birth control pill does not.

3. There is a risk when there is an exchange of bodily fluids… so you can get HIV by having oral sex where bodily fluids are exchanged.

4. You can get HIV by sharing intravenous needles.

5. You cannot get HIV by: sharing a toilet with an infected person, shaking someone’s hand or hugging an infected person.

For more information, check out this info sheet by the CDC.

***Even if you are in a committed and monogamous relationship, it’s important to know what your partner’s status is (and your own!)***

How can you get your family talking?

Well, we know that telenovelas unite families and they’re perfect to start this conversation, especially with the older generations who might be more hesitant to talk about these issues openly. The CDC has created a webnovela series, produced by Los Angeles-based AltaMed Healthcare Services, that shows how a Latino family deals with these issues. Check out the first episode here: 

Remember, knowledge is power. I encourage you to talk to your friends, your children and even your parents (yes! Your parents are probably having sex! It’s important for them to protect themselves!)

Join the conversation using #OneConversation and let us know who you talked to about this important topic. Whoever you talk to, ask him/her to pay it forward and talk to others. Because knowledge is power.

Share with us! Who are you going to have this must-have convo with? Your teenage prima? Your tween son? Your teenage sister? Your recently divorced aunt? Your grandma who is in a senior home? (Don’t laugh, there’s a lot of sex going on in those places!) Your abuelo who is a recent widow? Your hairdresser? Your gay cousin? 

HAVE IT WITH ALL OF THEM!! 

For more information on the CDC’s #OneConversation campaign, be sure to check out the campaign on your favorite social media platform:

 

And if Abuela doesn’t speak English, don’t worry, they’ve got all the info you need in Spanish! 

Diana Limongi
welcome! I'm a Latina working mom from Astoria, NY, mom to a trilingual four-year old. I blog about motherhood, Latino issues, women's issues, work/life balance, food, parenting and raising my multilingual and multicultural son!

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