You know your status and you're HIV positive.
Does that mean an active sex life is over for you?
Not necessarily. Being honest and following a few rules will allow an HIV-positive person to maintain a sex life.
According to Everydayhealth.com, the first step to maintaining a sex life with HIV is being upfront about one's status.
That's something many people don't do.
Data has shown that not everyone with HIV is forthright about their status; while 88 percent of men who have sex with men are likely to tell their primary sexual partner if they have HIV or not, they are about half as likely (30 to 40 percent) to share this information with any casual sexual partners or partners to whom they are not as committed.
In North Carolina, having unprotected sex when you know you're HIV positive without informing your partner is a crime.
N.C. requires HIV-positive people to report their status to the local health department and hand over names of previous lovers.
So, how can you still experience sex without breaking the law or spreading HIV? Follow these suggestions:
Safe Sex for HIV Prevention
If you have HIV, abstaining from sex, or being in a mutually monogamous relationship with an HIV-negative partner is your best bet for preventing HIV transmission. However, it's still important to practice safer sex to protect your partner from infection. This means:
Telling your partner about your HIV status (also referred to as serostatus) and knowing about your partner’s status.
Using a new latex condom every time you have sex or anytime a sex toy is shared.
Using a dental dam, latex sheet, or cut-open condom when performing oral sex on a woman or when in oral contact with your partner's anus (a sexual practice called rimming). There is not much information available about the effectiveness of these methods in preventing transmission of the virus via oral sex, but it’s presumed to be safer than having direct contact without a barrier.
Using a water-based lubricant to reduce friction.
Using a latex glove for inserting hands or fingers during sex or mutual masturbation.
Need to get tested?
Free and confidential testing for HIV and STDs is available from the Mecklenburg County Health Department at three locations:
Northwest Campus, located at 2845 Beatties Ford Road; Southeast Campus, located at 249 Bilingsley Road and CMC Northpark, located at 251 Eastway Drive.
Call 704-336-6500 for appointments.
Image credit: ANU News