HIV and Sex

It can be a common worry when diagnosed HIV positive about putting somebody else at risk of infection. This can make it difficult to relax and enjoy sex. There may be worries about telling a partner about having HIV, fears about what a current/future partner really thinks about it or may react. Sometimes, using condoms may not be something that you are used to, and you may find that thinking about safer sex gets in the way of enjoying your sex life.

The combination of all these thoughts and feelings can impact on your enjoyment of sex. It can take time to adjust but it can be reassuring to note that many people move through their concerns and worries to have enjoyable sex lives. Exploring how you are feeling about your diagnosis can aid in how you think about sex. Living with HIV does not change the desire and need for love, affection, or the pleasure we get from sex.

Be creative! Kissing, hugging, massage, and mutual masturbation are all completely safe activities to engage in. Condoms, when used correctly for anal, vaginal, or oral sex, offer the best protection against transmission of most STIs, including HIV.

The risk of HIV transmission from oral sex is much lower than for anal or vaginal sex. Some people choose to use condoms or dental dams for oral sex to reduce this risk even further.

It is recommended that if you are sexually active, to practice safer sex, and to get tested regularly for STIs as some STIs such as Herpes and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) can be transmitted through skin to skin contact even when penetrative sex does not occur.