I remember being woken one Valentine’s Day morning with a “Happy VD, baby!”

It was a bit of a shocker when accompanied by a significant other’s impish smile. My brain went from groggy to full red alert in .9 seconds flat. Upon getting some candy (never a good idea first thing in the morning), I timidly asked, “You mean Happy Valentine’s Day. Right, honey?”

The answer was affirmative, but my heart was acting out that incessant pounding from Edgar Allan Poe’s Tell Tale Heart. My ears barely registered her reply over the tom-tom of my heartbeat. The adrenaline eventually gave way to a sugar high as I nervously ate my chocolates.

I can already hear a few of you chuckling over this story. It’s not a wake-up call anyone wants, but most of us these days should pay attention.

Statistics from the Cree Health Board show that Crees don’t practice safe sex for the most part. Chlamydia has run rampart in some of our communities. This is usually a good indicator of unprotected sex as well as multiple partners.

I know this isn’t the type of topic most want to hear about on a day you want to spend with someone you care about, but it has to be acknowledged. The danger, as we all know, is if something like AIDS reaches the same high infection rate among Crees as Chlamydia. You know you have no excuse for unsafe sex.

With that let’s give you a few ideas of what to do for Valentine’s Day. There are couples I know who give each other a copy of their AIDS test showing they are safe. There are couples’ screening methods as well as individual tests.

Taking them is scary as hell but well worth it when you get that clean bill of health. The speed with which the results return depends on whether or not you are willing to spend a little cash. The tests themselves are confidential and you are given a card with a number and date when to return for the results.

With diseases like AIDS it makes more sense these days to commit to a relationship, though this may be difficult for some. If you have difficulty or don’t wish to commit, then wrap it.

Abstaining from sex before you are ready to commit is another option. Cold showers and a discussion with your preferred religious leader may help.

Above all, be honest with your partner or partners, and have a safe and Happy Valentine’s Day.