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What if you know he's not infected?
Jan 31, 2003

I don't know much about diseases you can get, but what if you are absolutly, one hundred percent, you've known him all your life positive that he has never had sex, and that he's not infected by anything? if I were to take birth control, could we go without condoms?

Response from Mr. Kull

The simplest way to think about your question goes like this: if there is no risk of HIV or other STI transmission between two people, condom use is not necessary. If he isn't infected with an STI, then transmission isn't possible. Some people confuse condom use with morality, i.e. "doing the right thing", when in essence, condoms are meant for disease prevention and contraception. If there is no risk of disease transmission, the condom is just cosmetic.

Now, back to the real world. Here are some more complex points to consider:

1) How do you know that your partner is HIV negative? You can't know that you are both negative unless you are both tested at least three months after your last exposure to a different partner, and there have been no other exposures in that three month window. Some partners get tested together to reduce the doubts about the partner's status. If you are demanding evidence of HIV results, I would question your level of trust and your readiness to not use condoms. You will only be able to trust someone's word.

2) How do you know that your partner will remain negative? In a perfect world, you could. In this world, people have sex outside of so-called monogamous relationships without telling their partners. If you are throwing away condoms, there absolutely must be a conversation about monogamy. It might start like this: "I love you and I want monogamy, but since we are not using condoms and I want us to stay HIV negative, we need to have a plan in case either of us has sex with someone else." Don't ever assume that your partner holds the same values that you do. And don't threaten to break up with your partner if he/she has sex with someone else. If you are using threats, then you should be using condoms.

3) You and your partner might have an open relationship, where monogamy is not as important as your emotional commitment to one another. You and your partner's ability to practice safer sex outside of the relationship will determine your safer sex practices within the relationship.

4) How do you know if someone is telling the truth? In the absence of a lie detector, you can't (please don't buy one!). My suggestion: make sure your sexual practices reflect not only your practical wisdom, but also your level of trust and comfort. If you are dating a guy for a few months and want to stop using condoms, but still feel a bit wary about doing that, keep using condoms until you feel otherwise. Learning to trust your gut, and act in accordance with that, is one crucial element to sex.

RMK



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