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How to tell if the problem in my relationship is fear of transmission...
Jun 2, 2003

I have been in the best gay relationship I've ever experienced for the last 6 months. In almost every way we have managed to consistently enjoy each other and continue to have fun with the exception that after disclosing my HIV+ status our sex life seems to have gone from "just getting started" to almost nothing. My partner claimed for a long time that HIV was not an issue for him despite my attempts to get him to seriously investigate issues with me and a doctor so he'd feel comfortable. Now on the eve of a possible break-up he tells me that he thinks it "might" be the HIV issue that is keeping him from being present and interested in our sex life. I know that sex is a complicated matter, and that whether a man gets an erection or not doesn't always have to do with whther he's hot for the guy hes with. Sometimes it can be psychologocally hindered despite ones attraction. However, how can I tell if the HIV is the issue and not something else. Are there telltale questions and ways you can get at the real issue, and or define it as HIV or not. And if it's not that easy (which I doubt it is) can you reccommend a process a couple can go through to isolate what problems are HIV related in a serodiscordant relationship, versus the problems that could be in any gay relationship.

Response from Dr. Remien

Your question is a very good one and does not have an easy answer. It is often very difficult to separate out "HIV-related" and "non HIV-related" issues in serodiscordant relationships. I believe the best way for you to figure this out is to have a few sessions with a couples counselor - preferably one who also has experience with HIV-related issues. There are many personal and circumstantial factors that can effect dynamics in a relationship and it can take a little time to sort them out. However, if you are both motivated and willing to invest a little time and some open and honest communication, I trust that you will be able to find some of the answers you are seeking.


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