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Follow these five safe-sex practices if you or your partner are living with HIV.

You can have sex if you are HIV-positive. And guess what else? You deserve to!

Living with HIV can’t stop you from leading a happy and fulfilling life. You can still have fun with your partner(s) by following a few extra steps to stop the spread of HIV. 

There are many ways you can have sex with HIV — including: 

Using Protection

If you’re hooking up, rubber up. Condoms and dental dams stop the spread of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia and gonorrhea, semen, vaginal fluid, and rectal fluid. No matter if you’re having oral, anal or vaginal sex, using condoms is a must, especially if you don’t have an undetectable viral load. 

A dental dam is a latex sheet that can be used between the mouth, vagina or anus during oral sex. Dental dams protect against STIs such as syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis, and HIV. 

If you plan to have oral sex, use a dental dam. Like condoms, they come in different colors and flavors. 

Starting HIV Treatment 

Although there’s no cure for HIV, HIV treatment can reduce and control the amount of HIV in your body to help you reach an undetectable HIV status. The most common form of HIV treatment is antiretroviral therapy (ART)

Starting ART as soon as possible and as prescribed after receiving a positive HIV diagnosis can slow the progression of HIV to the point where your viral load becomes undetectable. Reaching an undetectable status means the amount of HIV in your body is lowered, which also lowers the risk for you to pass HIV to a partner through sex. 

Staying PrEPared

PrEP, short for pre-exposure prophylaxis, is an HIV prevention method for people who are not yet HIV positive but are at a higher risk of getting HIV. PrEP is used to prevent the spread of HIV through unprotected sex or injection drug use, and can only be prescribed by a health care provider

If your partner is HIV-negative, encourage them to get tested and start using PrEP, so you can enjoy fun, safe sex with peace of mind. 

Getting Tested for STIs

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) spread from one person to another through any kind of sex – anal, vaginal or oral. No HIV treatment can protect you against STIs. The only way to stop the spread of STIs is to use condoms or dental dams.

Talk to your partner about getting tested for STIs. Remember: The goal is to have enjoyable sex while protecting yourself and your sexual partners. 

Take control of HIV today – whether you’re positive or negative. Visit TakeControlHIV.com for more information and resources on HIV and STIs, testing and more.