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FAQs About Mixed-Status Relationships
January 12, 2012
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Starting a Mixed-HIV-Status Relationship
- I am HIV positive and seeing someone HIV negative. It's going well, but he insists that we keep it non-exclusive. What do you think about open relationships?
- I recently started dating a guy with HIV. I'm not letting his HIV status get in the way of a relationship, but it is making me nervous during sex. The other day he came on my chest and stomach which caused me to panic. How risky is semen-to-skin contact for transmitting HIV? Also, are there any resources out there that can help me have a happy, healthy sexual relationship with my HIV-positive partner?
- I was dating my partner for a month when she tested positive for HIV. She was in shock, as I was. Although we had had unprotected sex at least 50 times during the month we were together, I was HIV negative at the three-month mark. Now I'm trying to decide whether to stay or go. I really love her, but will life be too complicated with an HIV-positive partner?
- I recently told a guy I liked I was positive, and he rejected me. I wonder if I'll ever have the courage to start a magnetic relationship again. Please help.
- I just met the man of my dreams, and he's positive. He says he's undetectable and strict with his meds. What does that mean for us?
- I've fallen in love with an HIV-positive man, but I don't know if I can handle the stress of being in a magnetic relationship. I'm also not sure if I can totally trust him. I need some advice. Please help.
- The woman I am in love with just found out that she is HIV positive, and she's pushing me away. I don't care that she's positive; I just want to be with her. Any advice?
- My boyfriend says that he completed his HIV treatment and is not able to pass the virus onto others due to "the miracles of modern treatment." Could this be true?
- Is pursuing a relationship with an HIVer completely insane? How many magnetic couples like us are there?
- I want to be as close as I can to my HIV-positive partner, and stay HIV negative. What can I do for them, and what can I do for me?
HIV Testing for Mixed-HIV-Status Couples
- My partner had a physical for his job and many of his blood-level tests came back low. Could these blood test results indicate HIV infection?
- I have been dating an HIV-positive man for the past year. He has brought total joy into my life. How often should I get tested for HIV? We practice safer sex, except during oral sex.
- I am an HIV-negative female. My boyfriend has been HIV positive for 20 years and his viral load is undetectable. Three nights ago, after sex, we realized his condom had come off and that he had come inside of me. I'm trying not to stress out, but the fact that I was bleeding a little has me worried. What should I do? How long should I wait before getting tested?
- My partner's positive, so to be on the safe side I get tested three or four times every year. The last two times my ELISA has been positive, but my Western Blot has been negative. What does this mean?
- After my partner tested positive, I took a Home Access HIV test. It was negative. Is this conclusive enough or do I need to get tested at a doctor's office to be sure?
- My doctor insists that I get tested every three months because he knows that my partner is positive. Is the constant testing necessary?
- As part of a magnetic couple, how often should I be tested? Also, should I ask my partner's doctor to write me a prescription for PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) that I can have on hand just in case?
- My partner might have exposed me to HIV a few months ago, but so far my tests have been negative. How far out should I test to consider the results definitive?
- Recently, I tested negative; however this was only weeks after the last time my HIV-positive partner and I had oral sex. How risky was this behavior and when, if at all, should I get tested again?
Safer Sex and HIV Prevention
- If the risk of HIV transmission from giver to receiver of oral sex is so miniscule, then should anyone really bother with condoms in these situations? What's considered "risky" when it comes to oral?
- Are extra-thin condoms effective against HIV transmission?
- Is abstinence the best way to stay safe until my partner's viral load drops?
- Allergic to latex: What should my HIV-positive partner and I do about condoms?
- What's the relative HIV risk between different kinds of sex in a magnetic couple?
- My boyfriend has just been diagnosed HIV positive. I've been having sex with him for three months now as the "top" partner, and I've used a condom 100 percent of the time. He also gives me oral sex. Am I at risk for HIV?
- I'm 37 years old, I've been HIV positive since 2006 and I haven't dated since my diagnosis. I recently met a woman who is negative and told her about my status. I want to give her oral sex but was wondering about how safe it would be for her. Can you explain the risks?
- My husband tested HIV positive three years ago, but he's insisted that we continue to have unprotected sex. Somehow I am still HIV negative. How is this possible? What should I do about my husband's reluctance to wear a condom?
- My husband was just diagnosed HIV positive, and I don't want to use a condom when we have sex. What would happen if we have unprotected sex? Is it safe for me if he just pulls out before he ejaculates?
- Even though we always use protection, my negative partner expressed some concern over the safety of our sexual activities. What can I tell him to ease his worries?
- I'm positive, and my negative partner and I want to have oral sex without using a condom. Is there any way to decrease the risk of transmission?
- I always wear a condom when I have anal sex with my positive partner. However his doctor says that's not enough protection and that he needs to wear a female condom too. Is she for real?
- A few months ago, I decided I no longer wanted to use condoms with my HIV-positive partner when we had sex. Am I being ridiculous to not use protection?
- I am HIV positive, and my partner is negative. We have major concerns about our relationship and the possibility of him becoming infected. What should and shouldn't we do sexually?
- I'm positive, and my HIV-negative partner likes to have unprotected anal sex (insertive and receptive) without ejaculation. Are there any statistics on transmission prevalence in this situation?
- I would like to get your opinion on the risks of transmission between lesbians in the following sexual scenarios: 1) mutual kissing / rubbing / vaginal insertion of fingers; 2) oral sex; and 3) using a double-ended dildo simultaneously.
- When they say that condoms offer at least 85% protection against HIV, do they mean that out of 100 episodes of protected sex with a positive individual, 15 result in transmission? I guess not, but what do they actually mean?
- I read that the risk of infection for a negative man from a positive woman is ridiculously low, assuming there are no sores, rough play, etc. How safe is sex without protection?
Disclosing HIV-Positive Status
Feelings of Guilt and Fear in Mixed-Status Relationships
- My partner admitted to cheating on me. Do you think he's HIV positive because of cheating?
- How can I help my partner cope with my new HIV status?
- My HIV-positive partner goes to group counseling to help him cope. But is there counseling out there for the negative partner, like me?
- Haven't wanted sex since my diagnosis: Will this ruin my relationship?
- I am HIV negative and my partner is HIV positive. We only practice safer sex. When I'm the "bottom" (receptive partner in anal sex), my partner is into it only for a short time; then he starts thinking about all the what-ifs, like the condom breaking, and the moment is lost. I respect that he's worried about infecting me. But do you have any suggestions for getting him to overcome his over-thinking and just enjoy the moment?
- I am HIV positive, and the love of my life is negative. Since I tested positive, he's been scared to even kiss me, much less have sex. He's convinced that even condoms won't protect us. How can I ease his fears?
- My HIV-negative boyfriend has decided he just wants to be friends. He is scared of getting HIV from me, in spite of the fact that we always use condoms and my viral load is undetectable. I love him with all my heart and can't bear the thought of not being with him. What should I do?
- Ever since I found out I was HIV positive, I haven't been able to bring myself to do anything more than kiss and cuddle with my partner. I'm terrified that I could infect him.
- My HIV-negative partner knew that I was positive when he started seeing me, but now he says he can't handle it. What can I do to help him through his fear?
- I was diagnosed with HIV last year, and my girlfriend and I have been having unprotected sex. She has known since then, but now is afraid that HIV will "eat her uterus."
- My husband just tested HIV positive, but I'm still negative. I don't understand how our statuses could be different as we've led a very active sexual life. I feel guilty that I am negative -- is that normal?
- I recently sent you a question about having a negative partner, playing with positive men and being guilt-ridden. In an answer to a similar situation, you said there was "no reason [they] can't have satisfying sex." Well, that's not how I feel.
- I'm newly positive, and I'm scared to death to get involved with someone who's negative. I'm worried they won't understand or that I'll infect others.
- I am an HIV-positive lesbian. I love my girlfriend, and she is very supportive of me. Yet she feels as though I have no interest in being intimate with her. It's not true ? I'm just terrified of exposing her to HIV.
Having Children in Mixed-Status Relationships
Caring for an HIV-Positive Partner
- I want to marry my HIV-positive partner: How do I convince my family it's a good idea?
- I met a terrific guy, but a few days after we got together (no sex, just some fooling around), he tested positive for HIV. We have strong feelings for each other, but I don't know the first thing about what's safe and what isn't safe to do with an HIV-positive person. Please help!
- My husband had what he calls a "one-time encounter" earlier this year, and now he's HIV positive. I'm so overwhelmed. Since he told me, I've felt angry, sad and betrayed, but I still love him and want to help him through this -- help us through this. Is there any advice or support you can give?
- My partner of over seven years was diagnosed with AIDS about six months ago. He's fighting with all his might, and he seems to be getting better, although it's slow going. What can we expect in the future?
- My HIV-positive partner has dementia and was just diagnosed with PML a few months ago. I'm struggling with what to do -- I love this man, but I'm having a very hard time taking care of him. How do you know when someone should be placed in an assisted-living facility?
- I love my positive partner and want to make love to him, but he's not interested. His viral load is way down thanks to meds, but the side effects are nasty. Any advice?
- Eighteen months ago, my fiancée was diagnosed as HIV positive. I love this woman with all my heart, but she often gets depressed and shuts me out. I'm beginning to take the rejection personally. What can I do to help us?
- Since starting and adhering to HIV treatment, my viral load has dropped to undetectable levels. My fiancée and I have a fairly active sex life consisting of protected vaginal and anal intercourse, as well as unprotected oral sex. She has been tested every three to four months since my diagnosis, and all her tests have come back negative. Is this enough? Do you have any tips for us?
- I was very recently infected with HIV, and I have a detectable HIV viral load. I know that HIV treatment guidelines don't recommend starting treatment immediately, but I'm wondering if I should. My partner, who is negative, feels that taking HIV meds will lower my viral load and my risk of transmitting HIV to him (even though we never have unsafe sex). Does this make sense?
- I made a point of telling my partner that I was negative before we had oral and anal sex. Afterwards, he told me he was positive! And he's a doctor! However, he said I'd be fine because he's had an undetectable viral load for two years and can't transmit HIV. Is he right?
- My husband and I have always had unprotected sex. How can he be HIV positive while I am still negative?
- About two months into my current relationship I found out I was positive. Even though my partner and I have stayed together -- and he says he's comfortable with us being a magnetic couple -- his attitude towards sex has totally changed. What should I do?
- What advice can you give to a newly diagnosed positive man? I don't want to lose my negative partner, but I know that there are some things he may not be able to handle.
- I am on HIV meds and have been undetectable for three months. My partner and I were having sex the other night and the condom broke. What is the likelihood of transmission?
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