Remember there are very many other STD’s which together are more common than HIV. Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia are often symptomless in ladies, making you infertile and at risk of ectopic pregnancies years later. Human papilloma virus, which causes cancer of the cervix, is probably very common and cannot be tested for easily. Syphilis may not be obvious, Chancroid is common and nasty, and there are many others. So even if you are both HIV negative, always use a condom. Even then the risk is only reduced, not eliminated.

A later article will cover all these other infections.

So What To Do?
Celibacy and mutual monogamy are guaranteed methods of preventing STD’s. Increasing numbers of young Ugandans are opting for it. They don’t trust condoms either! Most will come in together for an HIV test before starting a relationship, and usually get to know each other really well before starting sex even with a condom. That’s why the rate is dropping in Uganda.

Realise that, as a visitor, you cannot possibly know who can be trusted and who cannot. If you think you have met the partner of your dreams, ask a friend, especially a Ugandan of the same sex. He/she may have a very different opinion from you! Ask ‘Would you have a blood transfusion from him?” Or “Would you recommend him as a donor if your best friend’s child needed blood?”

If you live upcountry, or in a geographically or economically isolated situation, don’t substitute sex for real companionship. Get to know people from a similar background to yourself, come into town, do something familiar. Don’t get bored.

If necessary, “invent” a fiance back home, or in Kampala. Go and “visit” him or her. It will prevent a lot of subtle or overt harassment from unsuitable partners hoping to get lucky.

If you are determined to have a sexual relationship, get tested together, insist on watching the test being done in front of you.


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