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Disclosing sero status to new partner
Jan 20, 2005

Hey there...I've been in a LTR with my boyfriend of 19yrs. My partner is negative. Last week, after chatting on-line for a few weeks to a young man, I introduced him to my bf, everything went well, sexually. Now we would like to make this guy a permanent part of our relationship. I find myself in the same situation as when I first met my bf, though unlike in 1986 we did of course practice safer sex. How and when is the easiest way to disclose, as it isn't really any easier than it was 18yrs ago when I told my bf. Under current Queensland state law you are only required to disclose sero status if you intend to have unsafe sex. Can you suggest a way of breaking this news to our new partner, or at least a way of explaining to him that you can have sero discordant relationships without infecting a neg partner. Well, at least that it can be achieved, as I know there are still some risks but greatly reduced. Thank you for your time. brispoz85.

Response from Dr. Remien

I can certainly appreciate your concern. And I am not surprised that you feel like you did when you first met your boyfriend because the fundamental issues have not changed. While there are effective treatments now and people are living healthy lives, transmission of HIV between "HIV serodiscordant" partners remains an issue. The law is one thing and if all you are concerned about is liability in the eyes of the law, then you are telling me that you are "protected" if you do not disclose as long as you do not have unsafe sex. However, it sounds to me as though your concern is also about intimacy with this new partner. If you are telling me that you want to make this man a "permanent part of your relationship" then it seems to me that you need to face the disclosure issue - just as you needed to do with your boyfriend many years ago.

While it may feel difficult and/or awkward to "break the news" as you put it - I prefer to think of it as having a conversation about health and the range of risks involved with unprotected sex. HIV is one of several sexually transmitted infections and it would make sense for the three of you to address such concerns. And you are correct when you say that there can be serodiscordant relationships without transmitting HIV. Having the discussion and having all parties involved be committed to protecting each other is the way to prevent transmission of HIV.

Enjoy your relationship(s) and be safe.

Risk factors
oral sex risk reduction

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