The politically correct answer is never. You should follow the philosophy, TNO (trust no one), except yourself. The honest truth is that most of us are willing to go without a condom if we are in a committed relationship. For most of us, condoms represent a barrier between us and the other person. When you want to be intimate with someone, you want to feel closest to them. We want to trust the person that we're in a relationship with. How can we not trust the one that we love the most?
During my research on my new play, 4 Love, dedicated to women who have HIV and their loved ones, I encountered a lot of women who trusted me with their stories. One thing that I discovered is that most of the women were not the typical statistic that is stereotyped: promiscuous women who are not in a committed relationship.
Instead, most of these women trusted and loved their partner. Even though they were committed to them, he or she often engaged in high risk behavior such as infidelity and drug use. Some of these women were even married. Marriage is the most sacred unions we have in our society. Your partner is the one that you should be able to trust with your life and that is what we are doing each time we have unprotected sex with the one we love.
However, times are changing. We may need to re-think having unprotected sex with our boyfriend of 5 years or more, fineace, and/or husband. According to the CDC, HIV is the number one killer of Black women between the ages of 25-34. The number one risk is throughheterosexual contact via unprotected sex. Do you think our statistics will improve if we insist on not having unprotected sex again?
Despite this reality and the statistics to back it up, we continue to not protect ourselves. How many of us cansay that every time we had sex we used a condom? One woman told me that putting an emphasis on a condom, is not part of the solution, instead it just places blame. That is the last thing we want to do because blame reinforces stigma. Well, what's the solution? What are some solutions to this growing problem in our community? When do you think you should stop using a condom?
Dr. Shondrika Moss-Bouldin is currently directing the production, 4 love: a dedication to women of color who have HIV and their loved ones (www.fourlove.org ). Dr. Moss-Bouldin enjoys conducting workshops on theatre and professional development. For further information, please visit www.soulploitation.com and dramaticdynamics.com