Sex when both partners are HIV+
Couple embraced in a hug.

When to use condoms and the risk of reinfection

When you begin dating someone new – you usually bond over what you have in common. For some living with HIV, having a partner who is also HIV+ can make them more comfortable in the relationship.

But can sparks fly… safely?

In short – yes. But there are some things to keep in mind.

Protected or unprotected?

There are multiple reasons to wear a condom.

First – HIV isn’t the only thing you can transmit during sex. Condoms reduce your risk of passing on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, or others. But you must use them consistently and correctly. (Here’s how!)

Trying for a baby?

Condoms (when used correctly) also reduce the chance of pregnancy. If you are looking to prevent pregnancy, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using condoms with another type of contraceptive for dual protection.

We’re HIV+, STD-free, gay, and monogamous

If you’re a same-sex couple, have been tested for STDs, and are committed to a monogamous relationship – or not having sex with other partners – then what’s your viral load?

For partners who take HIV medicine and get and keep an undetectable viral load, the CDC says there is effectively no risk of transmitting HIV through sex.

Interested in getting on HIV medication? We’re here to help.

For couples who choose to have unprotected sex, there’s an STD/STI testing location near you.

If you are not in a monogamous relationship, it is recommended you wear a condom during sex as many people are unaware they’re carrying STDs.

What about reinfection?

There are different strains of HIV. Reinfection occurs when a person with HIV gets another type, or strain, of the virus (also called HIV superinfection).

So, if you or your partner does not take medication and maintain an undetectable viral load, you could be at risk for reinfection.

Talk to your doctor about the different strains of HIV and reinfection – especially if both partners are HIV+.

Can we transmit the virus outside of sex?

Yes. In addition to getting HIV from anal or vaginal sex, you can get HIV from:

  • childbirth (mother-to-baby)
  • breastfeeding
  • sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment

It is rare but HIV has been transmitted by:

  • oral sex
  • a workplace injury from a contaminated needle or sharp object

HIV is not spread by:

  • saliva
  • tears
  • sweat
  • shaking hands
  • sharing toilet seats

For a list of other HIV transmission myths, click here.

Want more information on dating while HIV+? We’ve got you covered:

A voice for the transmasculine community

by | Nov 13, 2023 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Sybastian Smith – Organizer, decision maker and advocate for transgender HIV+ healthcare “If we don’t care for our most marginalized communities, we’re no stronger than...


by | Oct 19, 2023 | Individual Health | 0 Comments

Host, HIV Advocate – Johneri’O Scott shares how to learn to love yourself and your status “I wish more people understood that your status doesn’t define you, you define...

melissa strype image

Let’s Talk about Sex: Melissa Strype

by | Jul 18, 2023 | HIV | 0 Comments

Comedian and sex educator shares her tips for STD testing Sexual health educator by day and comedian by night, Melissa Strype’s unique approach to taboo topics has...

testing day

Duck HIV and celebrate National HIV Testing Day by knowing your status

by | Jun 27, 2023 | HIV | 0 Comments

15 questions to ask when getting tested We get it – it can be scary talking about your sexual life with others or your medical provider. But it doesn't have to...


We see you, we celebrate you: Pride Month 2023

by | Jun 1, 2023 | HIV | 0 Comments

This Pride Month join the fight against HIV! June is Pride Month – a time to celebrate the diversity, activism, culture, and accomplishments of the LGBTQIA+ community...

Your mental health matters!

Your mental health matters!

by | May 1, 2023 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

Manage your mental health while living with HIV May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Mental health, like HIV, has a stigma around it which can discourage people from...

How to be an HIV ally

How to be an HIV ally

by | May 1, 2023 | HIV | 0 Comments

The dos and don’ts to creating a safer space for people living with HIV Sharing a positive HIV diagnosis takes incredible courage. People living with HIV need an...

Thinking about getting tested? 4 reasons why you should

by | Apr 28, 2023 | Individual Health | 0 Comments

Why do I need to test for HIV? If you’re sexually active, regular STI testing should be a part of your sexual health. HIV stigma frames HIV testing as shameful but...

How to talk to your parents about HIV testing

How to talk to your parents about HIV testing

by | Apr 7, 2023 | HIV,Individual Health | 0 Comments

National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day – April 10 As we celebrate National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on April 10, it’s important to discuss this generation’s...