I've been with my boyfriend for 6 months. He's negative and I'm positive. At first he was really good about using condoms but now he says he doesn't care and that he loves me. I don't want to make him do something he doesn't want to, but I don't want to be responsible if he becomes infected. Is it my fault if he becomes positive because we don't use condoms?
One of the most difficult things to figure out when you're HIV-positive is how to negotiate sex and condoms. Both of you are responsible for your sexual decisions, so if he became HIV+ as a result of your not using condoms, it would be because you both decided not to use them. As you know, using condoms greatly reduces the chances of transmitting the virus to your partner, so there is potential risk if you are having unprotected sexual intercourse. You say that you don't want to make him do something he doesn't want to, but what do you want to do? It sounds like you want to use condoms.
You could let him know that because his health is important to you, and because you love him, that you won't continue to put him at-risk by having unprotected sex. You could tell him that you understand that using condoms can get tiring, but staying healthy is not tiring. Since you were using them earlier in your relationship, he probably understands the importance of protection, so with your loving approach, you have a good chance of coming to a healthier arrangement!
"Shrink Rap" is a regular column in the Women Alive newsletter. Please send your questions about how to cope with HIV/AIDS to:
1566 S. Burnside Ave.
Mid-City Los Angeles, CA 90019