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HIV and STDs
Jun 11, 2013

Hi there...Thanks for all your great advice. I've been HIV positive for for years. I found out shortly after seroconverting and started meds soon after. My cd4 have been over 850 and viral load undetectable since going on meds. Emotionally it took a while, but I feel great. I eat well, exercise regularly and I feel like a got a grasp on how to manage this chronic disease. My latest fear is stds like gonorreah, climydia and syphillis. I have a lot of casual sex and enjoy it. Can getting an std compromise my gains made with managing my HIV. I get tested every 3 months and wondering if i can do more. Thanks again!!

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

STDs are not a great thing in general but most are very treatable and don't pose significant risks to your HIV health. You've not mentioned whether you use condoms or not for your liaisons, so I'll address this point separately.

Two deserve comment. Viral hepatitis (HBV and HCV) can potentially impact HIV disease, though the former is preventable with many HIV treatments. HCV is clearly a sexually transmitted disease among people who have anal intercourse.

Second, human papilloma virus (HPV) is the cause of many cervical, anal and oral cancers. While this can be vaccine preventable, many cases of HPV infection do occur, and it's well established that positive people are at much greater risk of developing HPV-related cancers than the general public.

You should also know that having an undetectable viral load makes the likelihood of you transmitting HIV to others much lower.

Overall, being on HIV treatment is a very good thing- both for you and your sexual partner(s). Barrier prophylaxis (a fancy term for condoms and dental dams) can dramatically reduce your risk of other STDs, but unprotected casual sex may put you at risk- using condoms even some of the time will reduce your risk.

I hope that helps, BY

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