Don’t be risky while getting frisky
Don’t be risky while getting frisky

Five steps for safer sex while HIV+

If you’re HIV positive, you can still have safe sex – it just takes a few precautions.

Reduce the risk of transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by following these tips below:

Open up before getting down.

While Pennsylvania law doesn’t require you to notify your partner that you’re positive, you should still consider disclosing your status.

Being honest and forward with your partner builds trust and fosters good communication. Doing so also normalizes these conversations, challenging the stigma around HIV.

Use protection.  

Dental dams, condoms and gloves all protect you from transmitting HIV and other STIs.

Vaginal and anal sex have the highest risk of HIV transmission, but using a condom cuts that chance down by over 70%. If the condom breaks and there’s possible exposure to HIV, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a medication you can take to prevent infection – it needs to be taken within 72 hours.

The chances of transmitting HIV from oral sex are already low but using condoms or dental dams can lower that risk even more.

Start Medication.

You can’t cure HIV, but it can be managed to a point where it is undetectable. Ask your doctor about antiretroviral therapy, or ART, to help control the progression of HIV in your body.

When HIV isn’t detected in your blood, it’s possible you won’t transmit HIV through sex. U=U, undetectable = untransmittable, by becoming undetectable you reduce your risk of passing HIV on to a partner. Regular blood tests and protection are still encouraged for you and your partner’s safety.

Change things up!  

People define sex in different ways.

Outside of penetrative intercourse, there are other ways to be intimate while having little to no risk, including:

  • Masturbating
    • B8 sessions
    • Edging
    • Phone Sex
  • Touching your partner’s genitals
  • Rubbing your bodies together (dry humping)
    • FROT
  • Kissing
  • Oral sex
  • Using clean sex toys 
  • Have your partner start PrEP

Get tested.

If you’re living with HIV and sexually active, getting tested for STIs and accessing and staying in care should be an essential part of your sexual health.

Talking about your sexual health with a partner can be awkward, but remember, the goal is to have fun and keep everyone safe. Stick to your treatment plan, take extra precautions, and with extra care, it’s possible to enjoy sex without the risk.

For more tips on how to live a positive life, stay healthy and thrive, visit

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