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Dating & Loving an HIV man!

May 11, 2013

Hello Shannon,

thanks in advance for responding to my post. I am in a relationship with an amazing man who is HIV+, while I am HIV-. He's Healthy and undetectable and I am on Truvada. I wonder what are the risks associated to unprotected sex if I am insertive while he's undetectable and I am on Truvada. i know there are risks indeed but we would really like to lose the condom as we are also exclusive and know we do not sleep around and both take care of our lives.

Thank you so much!

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi, The first thing I always start out with in a situation such as yours is Thank you for loving him and seeing him beyond his HIV. I'm positive and my husband is negative and I am thankful everyday that I found him! To answer your question there are studies currently being ran that look at this exact situation. Although we know having an undetectable blood viral load can greatly reduce the risk of HIV transmission, it is unclear exactly what this risk is reduced to.

There is one study that shows that someone with an undetectable viral load can have a reduction in HIV transmission by up to 96%.

In the research conducted so far, there have been no recorded HIV transmissions among heterosexual couples where the HIV-positive partner is on treatment and their blood viral load is undetectable. However, this does not mean the risk through condomless sex is zero. All of the couples studied to date have also reported using condoms often. This makes it difficult to determine the risk of HIV transmission when no condom is used.

We also know that the use of Truvada can add to the reduction of transmission.

Personally my husband and I have not used condoms in over 3 years. Granted our situation is reverse and it is much more difficult for a woman to pass the virus to a man. It is definitely a matter of choice, conversation and I would also encourage talking to his health care provider to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Be well and stay safe, Shannon

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