Sex Overview

Sex can be difficult thing to talk about, whether you’re HIV positive or negative. However, being HIV positive has its own unique set of challenges. Listed below are tips to help you deal with any negative feelings you might be experiencing.

 

Talk with Your Healthcare Provider

  • Various healthcare providers may ask about your sex life every time they see you. It’s their responsibility to support you in maintaining your health, and being upfront with them will help them do this.
  • Ask your healthcare provider any questions you have about safer sex, STDs, infection or other sex-related topics.
  • If you’re uncomfortable talking to your partner or family about your HIV status, ask your healthcare provider for help.
  • If you experience any negative feelings regarding HIV or your sexuality, ask for a referral to a support group or counselor.

Talk to Your Sexual Partners

  • It’s important to discuss your HIV status with your sexual partners. Partner Services can help you disclose your status to your partners, if you need help. For more information about Partner Services, please visit www.knowanddisclose.com.
  • Whether you are talking to your current partner, a former partner, or a potential new partner, here are some tips to prepare for the discussion:
  • Before having the discussion, decide on a good place and time, ideally where and when you will both be comfortable and able to talk openly.
  • Think about the person’s possible reactions. Write them down and think about how you want to respond.
  • If this person may react violently or in a self-destructive way, think about safety first, and plan to have the discussion in the presence of a case manager or counselor.

Talk to Your Primary Partner

    • If you’re in a relationship with a partner who is HIV negative, it’s important that they get tested regularly and that you both know your status.

Talk to New Partners

    • You may not know this person well or know how to gauge their reaction. Every situation will be different depending on the person.
    • You may favor a direct approach and simply inform your potential new partner that you have HIV. Or you may want to initiate a discussion about safer sex. However you approach it, informing potential partners of your status before you have sex is important.
    • In any event, practicing safer sex decreases the chance of the transmission of HIV and other STDs.

Talk to Former Partners

    • If you think you exposed a former sex partner or someone you share needles with, it’s important that they get tested. Talking to former partners can be difficult, if you need help visit www.knowanddisclose.com‎.

 

Protecting Yourself and Others

  • Safer sex means staying healthy while still enjoying sex, without transmitting, or acquiring STDs. It’s important to protect both you and your partner/s.

Ways to reduce risk

    • Use condoms. Condoms limit transmission of HIV. They also protect against other STDs and re-infection with new drug-resistant strains of HIV.
    • Make sure to take your medication. This significantly lowers HIV transmission risk if the infected partner is taking antiretroviral medications (be sure to take every dose of the medication on schedule).
    • Avoid sex when infected with an STD.

 

Discuss Your Boundaries with Your Partner

For many people, having sex with others involves both an emotional commitment as well as a physical one. It is important to be honest and open your statues.

  • Have open discussions about your desires, your fears, and your limits.
  • Agree on ways of sexual expression that fit with the level of risk you are comfortable with.
  • Talking to a sexual or relationship counselor can help.

For additional information: http://www.thebody.com/content/art55344.html