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normal sex life?
Jun 22, 2009

I have been positive for 6 years, my partner for maybe 2 or 3 (we are not sure of the date of infection.) I am fortunate and thankful to have be really healthy. My partner has been having a lot of health issues for the past two years. My question is this...when we first met we had a great sex life. Now it is virtually nonexisitent. He either does not have the energy or the interest (or maybe a comibination of both) to have sex right now. I have given up trying becuase I got tired of getting shot down. We are both in our mid-30s. I feel really petty sometimes for letting this get to me but then I feel like at times that I should not feel bad because wanting to be intimate with my partner is a normal feeling. I just dont really know how to deal with it and remain supportive of him without being bitter.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

There are a number of causes that could be keeping your partner down (so to speak). Decreased libido (sex drive) and fatigue are two common symptoms of depression. He certainly has reason to be singing the blues if he has had "a lot of health issues for the past two years." His HIV specialist should be able to determine if he's clinically depressed. If so, he may well benefit from psychotherapy and/or antidepressant medications. Another common underlying cause of diminished sex drive and fatigue is hypogonadism (low testosterone levels). This is seen quite commonly in us HIVers. Your partner's HIV specialist can easily screen him for this condition with a simple blood test (free testosterone level). Treatment is effective and readily available in the form of a self-applied testosterone-supplementation gel. There are certainly many other underlying medical conditions that might be the cause of or at least a contributing factor to your partner's fatigue and lack of interest between the sheets. Once again his HIV specialist should be able to perform the appropriate evaluation to get him (or you) back in the saddle again. Go with your partner to his next visit to his HIV specialist and be sure to address this issue. You'll both be glad you did!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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