Our expert says:
Risk to the HIV –ve person in an HIV discordant (one partner is HIV +ve, the other isn’t) is an important question that is best faced head on. Your predicament, Tshepo, is a common one. Firstly let me commend you on the upfront nature of your question – that you know your partners HIV status and are looking for the best information to allow you to have a satisfying sex life. There are several ways of cutting down significantly, the risk of contracting HIV from your partner.
1. Ensure your partner has check ups, and if the viral load is high, to go onto medication, as this can reduce the viral load, and therefore the chance of transmission.
2. Practice safe sex, which means not allowing sexual fluid (semen or vaginal secretions) or blood get onto your mucous membranes (these are the moist areas inside your rectum, vagina, mouth, nose or tip of penis)
3. Always use a condom, and ensure it is lubricated.
4. If practicing oral sex, preferably to use a mouth guard, or on the male a condom that is unlubricated.
5. Be aware of breaks in the skin, mouth or genital sores, as these can act as pathways for infection.
Skin is a natural barrier against HIV, so secretions that you touch should not be risky at all. Unfortunately, you cannot take away the risk altogether. The cornerstone of safe sex, is to continue to be open, communicative and informed.
Anthony – SASHA. For further information please consult SASHA’S website at www.sexualhealth.qw.co.za/dru. For referral to a professional in your vicinity, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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