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ME HIV/HIM HERPES
Jan 2, 2001

I AM DATING A MAN WHO IS HIV NEGATIVE AND HAS HERPES (ORAL AT TIMES). HE HAS NEVER MET ANYONE WHO IS HIV+ BEFORE. ALTHOUGH HE IS VERY AFFECTIONATE HE IS AFRAID TO KISS ME. HE IS AFRAID THAT DUE TO HIS HERPES HE IS AT RISK FOR HIV THRU KISSING. I REALIZE THAT I WOULD OF COURSE BE AT RISK FOR CONTRACTING HERPES FROM HIM, BUT DON'T SEE HIM AT RISK FOR HIV THRU KISSING, UNLESS OF COURSE HE WERE HAVING AN OUTBREAK AND HAD OPEN SORES (AND THERE WAS BLOOD PRESENT IN MY MOUTH OR SALIVA). AM I WRONG? HOW DO I TALK WITH HIM ABOUT THIS WITHOUT FEELING LIKE I AM "TALKING HIM INTO IT"?

Response from Dr. Remien

Your thinking about this issue is correct as far as the risk involved. And you are right to want to talk to him, without feeling like you are "talking him into" doing something he is not comfortable doing. This can be challenging.

The best approach in situations like this is to simply open up the discussion. Let him know that you can understand his concern. Ask specifically what he is concerned about and ask him what he knows about these things. Let him know that the last thing you want to do is to pass HIV on to him, and that you also want to protect yourself from getting any sexually transmitted infections. Encourage him to ask questions. He may want to talk to his physician or someone else with knowledge on these matters, besides talking with you. He (or both of you together) can ask specific questions about risk on the Safe Sex and HIV Prevention Forum.

The bottom line is that you both need to feel comfortable with the sex behaviors you engage in, in order to really enjoy it. You need to respect each other's needs and concerns. It may take a little time, but usually people can get more comfortable with these issues after they get the information they need.


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