Learn how to define your relationship and tools to keep the romance alive
Romantic and sexual relationships between people with different or the same HIV status used to be considered off-limits because of the myths surrounding HIV-positive people.
However, times are changing! There is an ongoing fight against stigmas and stereotypes, allowing people to live happier and healthier lives.
Living with HIV should never stop you from dating or taking your relationship to the next level but it may bring up questions about your relationship.
How do I define my relationship?
- I’m HIV-positive, my partner is HIV-negative
This is a mixed-status couple or a serodiscordantrelationship, a partnership in which one partner is HIV-negative, and the other one is HIV positive.
If you are in a mixed-status couple, know there are prevention and treatment options to stop the spread of HIV.
- We are both HIV-positive
A seroconcordant relationship is when both of you are living HIV-positive lives. Some people with HIV might prefer dating others with HIV because they might feel more comfortable. If this sounds like you, there are dating sites for HIV-positive people.
Can I have a healthy relationship if HIV is part of it?
You sure can! Mixed-status and seroconcordant relationships face issues just like any other relationship, so the key to “relationship goals” is always to be honest and communicate with your partner.
There are many ways you can have safe and fun sex with HIV, including:
- Using protection: If you have oral, anal/or vaginal sex, condoms are a must. They protect from HIV and other transmitted infections (STIs) such as herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and hepatitis C. Condoms are a powerful tool for prevention for both relationship types.
- Starting an HIV treatment: If you’re living an HIV+ life, or your partner is, ask your doctor about antiretroviral therapy (ART) – an HIV treatment. This treatment helps keep HIV-positive people at an undetectable status, which will lower the risk of passing HIV to your partner.
- Staying PrEPared: PrEP, short for pre-exposure prophylaxis, is an HIV-prevention method for people who are not HIV+ but are at risk of getting HIV. It also prevents the spread of HIV through unprotected sex and injection drug use.
Keep in mind PrEP can only be prescribed, so talk to your doctor and stay PrEPared!
- Getting tested for STIs: Regardless of your HIV status, get tested for STIs. No HIV treatment can protect you against them, so use protection and get tested.
Remember – U=U or Undetectable=Untransmittable.
This means people with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load – the amount of HIV in the blood – by taking prescriptions can’t sexually transmit the virus to others. Talk to a doctor to find out which medicines are available to you.
Take control of HIV in your relationship today – whether you are positive or negative. Visit TakeControlHIV.com for more information and resources on HIV and more!