This week, sexual health expert Jose Perez de la Cruz, answers a reader’s question about a potential new boyfriend, who is HIV positive and is worried about having a sexual relationship with him.
I’ve met a really cute guy recently at a bar and we made out and he’s incredibly sexy and we had a great connection.
We didn’t have sex, but the next day he texted me to say he was HIV+.
Now I’m really nervous, I want to see him again, but I’m worried I might catch HIV if we have sex. Also long term, I like having sex unprotected, (only in a long-term) but that’s not going to be possible ever is it?
Should I call it off?
There is certainly no need to call off what could potentially be a very satisfying relationship, solely based on the fact that he is HIV positive.
The risk of contracting HIV from someone during unprotected sex is determined by a number of factors. If an HIV positive individual is on medication, and his viral load is undetectable then there is very little chance of catching HIV from them, though, we cannot say it is impossible. An undetectable viral load means that the quantity of active HIV in a person’s bloodstream is so low that it is in fact almost zero. Conversely, the higher the viral load the more likely and indeed the easier it is to catch HIV.
Therefore, I think the best thing to do prior to engaging in any sexual intercourse of any kind is to establish whether he is undetectable or not.
Even if he isn’t there is always the option of using condoms. I understand that many people don’t like them, but if you choose to have unprotected sex with anyone, at least use a good water based lubricant.
To a degree lube also reduces the risk of catching HIV as it reduces the internal trauma which commonly occurs during sex.
Hope this helps.
Jose Perez de la Cruz, BPubHtlth,
Public Health Practitioner
Did you know you can order an at-home HIV test online? Click here to buy one
The advice given in this article is for guidance only and you should always seek your own independent, professional medical advice from your own GP if you are concerned about your health.
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For more information about sexual health and HIV, visit www.tht.org.uk or call THT Direct (a free, confidential helpline) on 0808 802 1221