Sex and risks


If you've recently been diagnosed with HIV then you may well be questioning your sex life and the types of things you like to do.

It is common for people who become infected with HIV through sexual activity to feel guilty or embarrassed, and so they avoid having sex. Usually this is temporary and the good news is that having HIV doesn't mean an end to enjoying sex. You just need to think about the types of risks you could be taking with partners and how to prevent passing on the virus to an HIV negative person.
HIV is passed from person to person when the blood or semen from an infected person is passed into the bloodstream of an uninfected person. Before you have sex have a think about the ways in which this transfer could occur - a man's semen could be absorbed into the bloodstream through someone's anus, for example.

Usually the best way to stop this transmission is to use a condom. It is important that the condom is used properly and using water-based lube can help stop it being damaged. Change the condom every 30 minutes if you're having a long session.
Different sexual activities carry different risks. Penetrating someone carries the highest risk of transmission if you don't use a condom. If you are penetrated by a negative partner then the risk of transmission is lower but it still exists.

Oral sex also carries a low risk but it can still result in the sharing of body fluids and so could potentially result in you infecting your partner.

If your viral load is high then you have a higher chance of passing on HIV to a sex partner, regardless of the type of sex you are having.
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