An HIV diagnosis does not mean your sex life has to stop or lack intimacy. The key to having sex when living with HIV is to educate yourself on the topic and demonstrate safety when engaging in intercourse. Learn more about how you can maintain intimacy in your relationship through safe sex options.
Transferring HIV to Sexual Partners
Oral. The risk of contracting HIV from oral sex is low, unless your partner has ulcers or an open wound inside their mouth. This can lead to the transferring of HIV from oral.
Anal. HIV is often transferred by anal sex due to the inside lining of the anus being more delicate and susceptible to tearing. This allows HIV to easily access your bloodstream.
Vaginal. Vaginal linings are thicker than in the anus but can still be easily torn. The virus can also transmitted without a tear, but it is more common when there is an open wound. A female’s menstrual cycle also increases the passing of HIV through vaginal sex.
Sex toys. Dildos and other sex toys that come into direct contact with fluids can transfer the HIV virus. Using sex toys on yourself is safe, but if they are coming into contact with others, they should be thoroughly cleaned. A safer option is to have separate sex toys that are only used on one person.
Prevention Starts with Protection
Condoms. This type of protection is the most effective way to prevent the transfer of HIV and also protect against other STDs. For condoms to prevent HIV, they should be worn before sex to avoid any pre-cum, vaginal fluid or anal mucus from coming into contact with your partner. Condoms prevent HIV and are a good source of protection when living with HIV.
Dental dams. Similar to condoms preventing HIV, this type of protection is a small sheet that can be used to cover the vaginal or anal region. It is most commonly used for oral sex.
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis). If you are HIV negative and have a partner that is HIV positive, PrEP can prevent the transfer of the virus. This pill protects you by stopping HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily. Even though PrEP is very effective condoms should still be worn to protect you from other STD’s.
Treatment. Today’s HIV treatments have the ability to lower the amount of HIV in your bloodstream which makes you healthier and less likely to pass HIV to your partner. People who are living with HIV and are consistent with treatments can achieve an undetectable virus load, which means there is such a very low amount of HIV in the bloodstream.
Testing. If your partner is HIV positive, it is extremely important that you are getting tested regularly to ensure you are healthy.
HIV and sex risks are easy to avoid if you take the proper precautions and use protection. Talking to your medical provider about which HIV treatments and prevention strategies are right for you is the first step toward living the life you deserve. Contact us today to find out if you are eligible to receive free help within central Pennsylvania from leading medical providers.