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BN Hot Topic: “What’s Your HIV Status?” How Soon Can You Ask The Tough Question



You know how we always say we Naija people lack phone ethics? Phones ringing during important meetings; you go to the bank and you can hear the person on the phone yelling and you can basically tell their entire life history from their phone conversation. Anyway, one of such people strolled into my friend’s shop in Akoka. Now, because she was prattling on, on the phone, we couldn’t find out what she really wanted to buy so we all just generally went about our businesses. Her voice was really loud and she was talking so animatedly that there was no way of missing the “gist”. Special shout out to the random babe who walked into Modupe’s shop last Saturday… for without you, we’d have no HOT TOPIC today.

Without further ado, let me relay the gist to you guys. So Miss Random Babe was telling her friend on the phone of how she asked her boyfriend or lover (as the matter be aproko matter na! I no fit seek clarification so make una no vex!) Anyway, she apparently had asked her boyfriend when last he got tested for HIV and dude basically flipped. So Miss RB was asking her friend if what she did was bad? Was it wrong for her to have asked him for his status? At some point in the conversation she asked if it was too early in the relationship but she further re-iterated that it didn’t matter since they were already having sex.

I brought the matter to the BN Team on Monday and as we were talking about it  someone said “well, you’d know eventually now just before you get married as some churches make it a standard requirement”. Someone said “You have to ask as soon as you decide to start kicking it with anybody then it’s your responsibility to ask what the person’s status is”

I was quietly soaking up this debate and then I told everyone I was gonna write about it on Thursday. I was gently reminded of some readers who might feel we’re implicitly giving a stamp to “pre-marital sex”. However, I’m of the opinion that one should not live in a bubble. These things are happening around us every where and not talking about it is tantamount to burying our head in the sand.

So what do you guys think? When should you ask your partner for her/his HIV status? how soon into the relationship should you ask? Let’s broaden the scope a little more. How soon can you discuss some pertinent issues?  Especially medical history, because these things find a way of cropping up at the oddest of times. Do you think the issue is something that shouldn’t be broached unless you offer the information?

Let’s discuss!


You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website for more information.


  1. omolola

    August 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Hmmm…. Tough one.

    • tl

      August 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      Tough, how?

    • Demi

      August 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      Well, not really – it depends on how much you value your health and life. I’ve a friend who’s a doctor in one of the most prestigious hospitals in VI and she says if you see the big boys and gals and the loaded businessmen and politicians who secretly come in to get their ARVs, you’ll pass out. Many of them are in unprotected sexual relationships but have not informed their partners. Scarily, a lot of them are also married but refuse to tell their spouses their status for fear of rejection. Ladies, if you ask a man to take the test and he flips, you had better run….FAR, FAR away! Better safe than sorry. Ditto for you guys. HIV/AIDS is more real than you can imagine

  2. Oma

    August 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    If your relationship’s main aim is marriage, the question would have to pop up sometime.
    Timing of the question matters.

  3. Jenifa

    August 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    before you have sex, and its not just HIV/AIDS that’s an std there are many STDs out there some worse than HIV/AIDS

  4. Aibee

    August 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    In my opinion you should ask before you have sex. Not at the point Of making out wey Konji don hold una two. Just ease it into the conversation before you start. Having sex. If its a non-sexual relationship then its definitely before marriage sha.

  5. GET TESTED!! No if ,and's, or but's about it! GET TESTED!!!!!

    August 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I There’s no reason in this world for anyone to get upset with someone asking for their HIV/AIDS STATUS, especially where HIV/AIDS is dominantly spreading. HIV/AIDS does not have a look or a face to say that I’m positive, It a virus that can be prevented if we all know our STATUS, so I encourage everybody even has young has 12 to ask our significant others to be tested, even if you have to go together before any intimate relations. HIV/AIDS can be contacted through blood, breast milk, semen/vaginal fluids, unclean needles i.e, tattooing, illegal drugs or medications, and oral sex. SO PLEASE GET TESTED ….KNOW YOUR STATUS and YOUR PARTNER STATUS!! HIV/AIDS is real! Remember you don’t die from HIV/AIDS you die from the complications and symptoms of it and trust me it doesn’t look nice.

  6. zeenie

    August 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    ideally one is suppose to ask earlier on in the relationship but frankly it is a a tough question because when people are asked the question it puts them on the edge. but i believe that no matter how hard people should ask earlier on in the relationship, they dont need to wait till before marriage (when the churches force em to do it)

  7. adenike

    August 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Well,a little bit tough but here’s what I think. Health issues are to be approached with tact – besides,closeness also matters. You may be in a relationship and not be that close to your partner (yea,it happens). On the other hand,I’ve been told I’m a good conservationist – so I’m sure one way or the other, health relations questions will be asked maybe 1month into the relationship sef. As regards HIV status – if you intend having sex with a man (protected or not),I think you have the right to ask (tactfully) what his HIV status is. The guy who flipped must be an immature person – it’s a harmless/normal/standard question.
    This also brings me to the issue of genotype – some people still don’t bother to ask until the dude proposes. That’s pretty stupid though. Know who you are dating and find the appropriate time/mood to ask him or her.

  8. Joy

    August 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    It is imperative that one knows his or her potential partner’s HIV status. There is no need burying our heads in the sand. It was a pre-requisite for me oh. In fact, it was the first major question I asked at our first date, even before I knew for sure we would date!

    We both went for a complete sexual health check after we started dating before any bedmatics. I believe in relationships, we need to think with our heads and hearts!

  9. Chattyzee

    August 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Ok, here we go. .. lol
    1) Miss RB was already sleeping with her boyfriend and then geez, “I should probably ask him of his HIV status”? That’s like putting the cart before the horse. Accident is inevitable. I don’t she needed to have asked since she already slept with him. All she needed to do was get tested and she’d figure it out for both of them.
    2) Yes, I’m one of those people who preach against premarital sex. I already did that on my blog, so I won’t bore you with it. Simply put, don’t do it! If you are doing it, stop!
    3) You should be able to ask of your partner’s HIV status when things start getting very serious between both of you, when he proposes or when you’ve dated for a while. Both of you should be able to talk easily about it without fighting, after all, if he or she loves you, they’ll want to know right? And preferably, get tested together and get your results together. Because talk is cheap o.
    4) The same principle also applies to medical history and the likes. It really is not a big deal.
    I will say this however, the earlier you know, the better. You can save yourself a heart break by finding out ASAP. You don’t wanna date someone for 3 years only to find out that you are both SS or AS (genotype wise). Moreover, shouldn’t we all be doing these tests annually anyway? I just got back my own HIV test results two days ago. I do it every year. **In Naeto C’s voice** – Kini Big Deal?

  10. flakky

    August 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    There’s no reason in this world for anyone to get upset with someone asking for their HIV/AIDS STATUS, especially where HIV/AIDS is dominantly spreading. HIV/AIDS does not have a look or a face to say that I’m positive, It a virus that can be prevented if we all know our STATUS, so I encourage everybody even has young has 12 to ask our significant others to be tested, even if you have to go together before any intimate relations. HIV/AIDS can be contacted through blood, breast milk, semen/vaginal fluids, unclean needles i.e, tattooing, illegal drugs or medications, and oral sex. SO PLEASE GET TESTED ….KNOW YOUR STATUS and YOUR PARTNER STATUS!! HIV/AIDS is real! Remember you don’t die from HIV/AIDS you die from the complications and symptoms of it and trust me it doesn’t look nice.

  11. African

    August 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I would say before you knock boots whether that be premarital or post-marital. Unless the two of you are virgins…but even so if you’ve had a transfusion or such then I would say check your status. No prizes for being unaware.

  12. Revira

    August 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Interesting. it is ok to ask your partner to get tested before sex. Couples should have HIV test before having sex.

  13. Dr Zizi

    August 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    This is an excellent question.I agree with Aibee. That question should be asked not in the heat of the moment. It should be timed well, not too early in the r/ship but certainly before you get intimate. Personally, I recommend saying to the person”Let’s both go and get tested for HIV and other STDs” because asking him/her is useless. He/She can tell u whatever they want. But if you both go to a doctor/lab where you don’t have any stakes and no one can interfere with the results, it is safer. A friend of mine married a HIV positive woman and she had lied she was negative and even produced a fake result. So people beware.
    Also, there are other STD that are impt to get tested for e.g hepatitis B and C which are equally deadly and have no cure; Also herpes, syphyllis and HPV. These can all be tested for because your partner may not even know they have it.
    I am a doctor hence the long write up but I like to educate young people about thisstuff

    • Bianca

      August 10, 2012 at 9:59 am

      People could actually falsify an HIV free status certificate? oh yea, this very informative.Could’t have imagined such,that would be too too mean. Normally,i would just ask for a prove on my first date,just that,buh even at that,I still would insist on using a condom,it has to be rough riders,and I buy it my self.

  14. belinda

    August 9, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    It’s a difficult one but it’s a necessary one!

  15. Pendo

    August 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    if you have any intention of getting intimate with the person at any point of knowing him then the question should definitelybe asked early on there are various ways to tactfully bring it into a conversation….and you both should get tested together never take anyone’s word for it and the fact that you both test negative does not mean the condoms are thrown out they stay on unless you decide to get married and start procreating and for those who do not engage in pre-marital sex please do not get tested a week to your wedding and then have unprotected sex on your wedding night there is something called a window period which takes upto three months for the virus to appear in someone’s body so if you are planning to get married get tested three months prior and then once more after the window period is up. Please also remember that HIV is transmitted through other means like blood transfussion where unscreened blood is used, infected drug abusers sharing needles to inject, oral sex etc even though penetrative sex has the highest rate of transmission…i guess for some people it actually takes seeing someone dying of the disease to take it seriously which is sad and like someone said before it doesn’t discriminate….so get tested know your status and either stay negative or live positively. Besides if you test early enough before the virus gets to full blown AIDS you can live a long and healthy life thanks to ARV antiretroviral drugs and a healthy lifestyly coupled with a positive attitude…HIV is not a death sentence. Glad to put my peer counselling HIV training into good use thanks BN for this topic

  16. mama

    August 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Ha! Look at us! Naija people! We have already gone into a lecture on how one could get infected! Like we don’t already know! Mtcheeew! Ehen! As for babe in the gist, I hope she and and bobo were using protection? Sha, he was really upset about the question. I think its not a big deal oh! Unless you are two timing, and the question has forced you to question your sexcapades. If two adults, in a mature relationship cannot sit down and discuss an issue like this, then that is no friendship. Too many do’s and don’t’s in relationships have us walking on eggshells. Bottomline is, ask said question in a manner in which the person to whom said question is being directed doesn’t hate you. And you asking the question sef, did you expect to hear “yes baby, I am hiv positive, but we are using protection, so it don’t matter”. This issue has no straight answer.

    • Lia

      August 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      you do realise that not everyone in Naija especially is enlightened as you are there is nothing wrong with people giving information on how infection occurs because trust me there are so many ignorant people out there and a lot of misinformation being passed on

  17. Eugenia

    August 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    status has to be taken seriously. d moment a relationship is defined……bcos when a man and woman are in love, anything can happen. not necessarily sex immediately. HIV can also be contracted thru kissing. so i think is better to know ur status on time.

    • Lia

      August 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      the risk is very minimal though but if an infected person has sores or open wounds in the mouth then the likelihood of passing on the virus is very possible via kissing

  18. Eve

    August 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Well, as for me, EVE am not a saint. The truth is bitter,infact bitter than Alomo. If I must straff, It must wit CD. First thing first. If its just a friendship level, while chating I pop in d question and ask. He might lie to me that he just did the test few weeks ago. So even when I ask and he says( ohh yes baby, I just did the test a month ago), that will not make me believe him. I must request for a CD. Secondly, what happens when we are negative then the music starts definatly witout the CD, certainly he might want to feel it that way. then he travels (afterall body no be firewood), meets a gurl while in the process, CD bust. He might nt tell me when he return that this is wt happened. The only time I can flow witout a CD will be on my wedding night. In the nutshell, I ask BUT I must use a CD. Thank you.

    • Lia

      August 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      ” Secondly, what happens when we are negative then the music starts definatly witout the CD, certainly he might want to feel it that way” I am hoping this statement is a joke because you cannot be serious in saying this. If he wants to feel it “that way” like you say and you do not want to then you have a right to say no i am sure you realise that. However i am with you on the Condom bursting bit scary as hell!!!!

  19. Eve

    August 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Aunty Eugenia, HIV cannot be contacted tru KiSSInG ooo. Google and read. jeeez

  20. DocDeola

    August 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Let us n’t be hypocrites,nigerians love sex, once saw a patient who died of HIV, d guy being her first, and he was still alive. Her single mother had struggled for her to go to uni, only for her life to be wasted. And what’s wrong with Nigerian guys and condoms
    …smh, go to hospital and see septic abortions and AIDS. Be a man/woman do the right thing get tested and wear rubber. They have sexual health clinics on campuses in UK, we need this in naija. Aids aside chlamydia n gonorrhea cause infertility in later life.

  21. yee-ola

    August 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    intresting…its not so difficult, at least not as difficult as leaving with HIV or other STDs…if you love yourself much, u should ask. lesson learnt

  22. nana

    August 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    i do the test every year and i once dated a guy whom i told i dont do pre marital sex and whn he saw my result which was negative cos i gave him my purse,he was snooping around he asked y i do it since i am not sexually active i was shocked anyway he ended the relationship thinking i was lying to him.good for me huh

  23. tl

    August 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    She did the right thing by asking the guy about his HIV status. The question is why would anyone wanna date a guy in Nigeria without knowing his HIV status. I volunteer my HIV status to any girl i wanna be serious with because am gonna ask you for same. I need to know if you got checked on a regular if you are active(sex). Shame on that guy!

  24. queenhannah

    August 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Someone can tell you they are squeaky clean of HIV and other STDs if you ask for their status but that doesn’t mean a damn thing. Men lie, women lie, blood tests don’t. If you want to know someone’s HIV/STD status, you both should go get tested immediately and THREE MONTHS later. You can contract HIV and some STDs today and it wont be detected in you blood for months.
    There are millions of Nigerians living with this and other viruses and they don’t know it. You should NEVER TRUST PEOPLE’s WORD ON HIV!!! Instead of asking, go to the hospital!!!! Please protect yourselves.

  25. queenhannah

    August 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    PS: HIV CAN BE CONTRACTED THROUGH KISSING. If you and your parter have open cut/wound in your mouths from brushing your teeth or however and you both engage in kissing, it’s very likely to transfer blood from one parter to the other through the open cut/wound and get an infection.
    Google is a search engine not a physician.

  26. idak

    August 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I appreciate the asking part. My problem is with what happens after.
    My advice is even after finding out the status,insist on CDs.
    Knowing status is not an excuse for not using CDs.
    No need to dance in the rain.

  27. Ikunkun

    August 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Lmao!! I find this hilarious, Miss RB no gbadun at all oh, serious putting Cart before horse matter!! But my guess is if she was soo worked up about it, maybe she was thinking of doing the dirty with him without protection, hehehe. In an “ideal” situation sha if you are asking a guy abut his HIV status he should be happy sef because that could be an hint that you are seeing potential for having sex with him.
    But to be serious though, If you have no plans of pre-marital sex, I think the question would be kind of awkward and a little bit presumptuous if its too early. But how early is too early?? because am thinking I would like to know your status before we fall in love…or is it 2months to the wedding we would now have to deal with heavy sturvs like that??
    Someone with experience in this scenario (no pre-marital sex but still had to ask) should enlighten us jare.

  28. julie

    August 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    as soon as a gal agrees to date a guy,she shud ask him the question,sexually active or not u shud know inorder avoid preventable future problems incase of marriage nd any guy who makes a fuss ova it is not worth bein ur b.f not to even talk of avin sex wit pls ladies nd gentlemen of the house,b wise!

  29. Lani

    August 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    You have to ask as soon as possible. First time my boo and I got physical, before he entered I asked him if he ever had chlamydia, gonorrhoea, or any other STDs. He said no but I needed more than that. He kindly retreated and said he will get documentation. Why should he flip? Na only one idi I get o. I would say you should ask as soon as you start getting physical.

  30. Lafunky

    August 9, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    The question should also include, how many people (including BN readers/commentators) asked their spouse to take HIV test before having sex with them whether pre-marital sex or in marriage?

  31. Chika

    August 9, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    You should ask and go tested together. When should you ask? Immediately, you know you will eventually be intimate with him/her. Really, if you are engaging in pre-marital sex, you should you be using a condom. We all should practice safe sex. You don’t know what your supposed boyfriend/girlfriend is doing behind your back. Let’s play safe.

  32. Mujer casada

    August 10, 2012 at 12:15 am

    People cannot afford to have random unprotected or ignorant sex in Nigeria anymore. The reality is that depending on your crowd, the rate of HIV could range from the 5% I hear our govt tout to something as high as 80%. Yes, 80 loaded percent. You find yourself in the high roller crowd where money is everything and legs open without caution, that rate is very real. They wont tell you; they are not obligated to advertise; they may actually be intent on spreading the infection; they dont always look sick with craw craw. So Naija boys and gals, hold ya “thingies”, zip it up and if ya need to open it for anyone, ask for their HIV and Hep B status. Once you confirm it is negative (through a real lab result), have them wear a condom. Life is too worrisome to add one more preventable worry to your to do list!

    • Ada Owerri

      August 10, 2012 at 1:44 am

      Uhmmm thanks for this. Very true. I also suspect some women need to be CD’ing with their hubbies. Sad but true! Particularly for those naijamen that are like dogs and chop every and anything. An ex-governor comes to mind…

  33. habba!

    August 10, 2012 at 7:22 am

    instantly as a guy says “can u be my girl friend”, the next question should be “lets go get STD tests first” u must ask your sexual partner to test for HIV! especially if you want to get married! HIV is real!

  34. Beverly

    August 10, 2012 at 8:28 am

    You don’t ask, you show and tell. That is a conversation to be had fully clothed and seated upright on the couch. The best time to both get tested for STIs is before you start having sex. If your partner is reluctant , that should tell you the kind of person they are and how they take care of their sexual health.

    Girls/women have to have agency over their bodies, their sexual health and reproductive organs. Learn to say NO, it is a beautiful word.
    If a man can ask if you are a virgin or ask if you had sex with your previous boyfriend(s) why should you not be able to show and tell? BTW, if you cannot ask these tough questions ,take the tests annually(repeat 3-6months after first test) and carry your own condoms, you should not be having sex. If it is against your religious conviction to use a condom for premarital copulations, you should not be having sex.

    All it takes is one time.

    I had a friend die a few years ago from an AIDS related infection, when I met him he was HIV+. I know he still had sex with random girls/ prostitutes. Most of it drunk sex, do the math. The best of the best sleep with prostitutes.

    P.S. have y’all read that there is only ONE treatment left for gonorrhea now?

  35. lahips

    August 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Beverly you are on point,especially with the part where you have to equally get yourself tested 3-6 months and carry your own CD.

    Truth be told, most people go into relationships and sex comes in without even thinking of HIV, they atimes find it ‘somehow’ to talk about it, but one way i feel you can pass a message to your partner is to maybe bring up a gist like ‘hey dear i just got tested for HIV, and its negative, that is nice, have you had yours before….’ from there the gist begins, and you could then ask him or her to try and get tested, this is to avoid the tone or meaning the person might read into your going directly to ask, just incase you feel somehow about asking. i know some people may wonder why one should feel somehow asking since life is involved, if you will tell yourself the truth then you would agree that its only a few percentage of people that can speak up outrightly with their partners (single peeps)on this topic.
    in all the best practice is to use a CD if you must be involved in pre-marital sex,when you keep insisting on CD, if your partner tries to opt for a no CD, then you tell him you need to go for a test first, or avoid sex if you have to. i assume married peeps go for this test before marriage and inbetween.

  36. Princess of Zion

    August 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    You should ask once you are emotionally intimate and are thinking of marriage. Obviously, everyone has a past, so just ensure you know before proposing or marrying anyone.

  37. lahips

    August 10, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Another question is, is it about asking and getting an answer which you are not sure of, or going for the test together.

  38. naijababe

    August 11, 2012 at 8:46 am

    This is one of the many questions to ask the guy I’m dating especially with all the crazy things happening out there. Please, take your life seriously, some stupid boy is not worth your life. If the guy gets angry, tell him this is important to you and if he insists he’s not going for check up, just drop him. HIV/AIDS is quickly spreading among Nigerians too, it’s no longer South Africa or Uganda case. And now, that gays are coming out more in Naija, my other question to ask again is, are you a gay or do you like front and back as in do you like to do men and women? I love my life too mcuh to risk it over something that could have been prevented.

  39. So keel

    August 25, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Uhm, on discussing pertinent issues, it really depends on what the issue is…eg I have sickle cell and I tell any guy I date even at the point where he is still scoping me…for two reasons 1. Compatibility check 2. To sieve the real from the ‘unreal’…so it depends really on what’s important to you.

  40. Eve

    May 25, 2013 at 4:35 am

    If you are ever considering being intimate with anybody, not only do you ask, pls let us both go and get tested for HIV and STDs. If it is such a huge deal for you…Deuces!!!

  41. Ammie

    January 19, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    I asked my new boyfriend about his status and if he has any STD’s “i need confirmation of Your HIV status” since he is insisting on unprotected sex. he refused picking my calls and wont chat no more. Well i don’t see anything wrong in asking is for a safe reason

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