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Serodiscordant - are his concerns stopping us?

Mar 21, 2011

I have been with my partner for almost 2 yrs now (we are both male). I am HIV+ and he is not. I told him straight away that i was + but two years on we still haven't had full sex with each other, he hasn't performed any kind of oral on me either. He tells me that he is scared of getting infected and that adverts from the 80's and 90's have shocked him into being like this and we talk a lot about it but still nothing happens. We masturbate together but sometimes he won't even do that on me, and he doesn't allow me to perform oral on him either. Although I have told him that I understand his concerns and that it is actually nice for someone to be careful, I feel as though this isn't totally normal and that if we haven't moved on by now that we are never going to. The rest of our relationship is more than fantastic and I love him totally but I can't tell him I love him in case he does decide that it's over. I'm worried that we are working on something that is never going to be and that I should end it and let him move on with someone who isn't +.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Managing a serodiscordant relationship has special challenges but many couples are able to successfully overcome these difficulties through mutual respect, understanding, and communication. One of the big fears, or course, is rejection or losing your partner. That, as well as unstated feelings between the two of you are getting in the way of really sharing concerns, as well as problem-solving regarding sex. I would suggest working with a counselor who could help you refine your communication skills before you make any important decisions about your relationship. Our understanding of transmission has come a long way since the 80's and 90's - you owe it to each other to be totally informed. Check this link on serodiscordant relationships at and see if you can find a support group for couples in your situation in your city. -David

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