Safety


When one of you has HIV and the other doesn't, you both might worry about the HIV negative partner becoming infected.

This is understandable, and these concerns are often strongest in the early days after finding out a partner has HIV.

But worries can grow out of proportion to the real risk, putting a relationship under stress. Over time couples often get their concerns into proportion, and are then able to take precautions and enjoy a sex life with the least risk possible. So it helps to fully understand the risks associated with different types of sex.
You might feel that HIV is a barrier to getting close, and that condoms get in the way. If you're the HIV negative partner you may start to feel that you are somehow immune from being infected by your partner. You may even feel that if you both had HIV it would result in more sexual intimacy, no more worries about getting infected and the chance to support each other with having HIV.

But such thoughts store up problems for the future that will hurt your relationship. Two of you with HIV in your relationship will make things more complicated than just one. And someone who allows their partner to contract HIV could end up feeling angry with themselves.
Talking to a counsellor will help you to work out ways of getting close sexually without risking HIV. Unprotected sex isn't the only type of intimacy; deep and honest communication is a powerful way to get closer to one another.

Using condoms isn't easy, and feelings of love and passion can lead to unprotected sex. If this happens, you shouldn't assume HIV has been passed on. It is never too late to go back to using condoms.

In an emergency, such as when a condom's not used or it breaks, there's Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), a treatment that can stop a partner getting HIV. It's best started within 24 hours of unprotected sex and no later than 72 hours afterwards.

After unprotected sex you might feel angry, stressed or lacking control. A counsellor can help you work out why unprotected sex happens and how to avoid it.
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