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Why safe sex post-HIV ?
Jan 13, 2009

In your reply to Drug Resistance Dec 4, 2008 you say : "Once the decision to start HIV medications is made, continuing safe habits remains important" Why ? To safeguard against other sexually transmitted diseases ? - what is their effect on one's current HIV+ status ? To guard against reinfection by a drug resistant HIV ? Thank you.

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for your post.

You're correct- there are multiple reasons why practicing safer sex (after starting HIV medications) is important. You've highlighted a couple of important ones.

Clearly the risk of getting new sexually transmitted infections is the key issue. We know that patients with HIV have greater risk of disease progression from some STIs, such as hepatitis viruses and papilloma (wart virus). Both of these are causes of serious complications, such as cancer and get forgotten in the safer sex discussion.

Additionally, while the risk of getting reinfected with HIV is generally low, cases of superinfection clearly do occur; sometimes with the result of getting someone else's drug resistant virus (and therefore causing failure of first-line treatments).

I hope this helps to clarify things,


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