When Is It OK for 2 HIV-Positive People to Have Condomless Sex? An HIV Doc Weighs In

Associate Editor
Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H.
Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H.

Living with HIV also means having to navigate falling in love while living with HIV and, yes, having sex while living with HIV. For those who are living, loving and having sex while positive, there may be many questions about how an undetectable viral load affects their sex life. On his personal Tumblr, Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H., an HIV doctor at Southwest CARE Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, answers questions from people living with HIV who are concerned about a number of issues, including their viral load.

On May 24, 2015, an anonymous user asked:

My husband and I have been having unprotected sex and we both are HIV positive. We both were diagnosed at the same time and we're on the same [meds]. A friend of mine said that we should stop having unprotected sex because we may [acquire HIV superinfection and it'll be hard to find] a drug that will keep our viral load down. We're both undetectable, too. What are your thoughts about the situation? How much is the truth?

Gallant answered:

Your friend means well, but his worries are exaggerated. First, both of you have undetectable viral loads. As long as they remain that way, neither of you is going to transmit HIV to the other. Second, you may be infected with the same virus. Third, HIV superinfection is a pretty uncommon event.

How does this make you feel? Have you ever wondered if it was OK for two HIV-positive people to engage in condomless sex? Do you already do so? Discuss in the comments section below.

Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H., is the associate medical director of specialty services at Southwest CARE Center in New Mexico. You can ask him a question directly on his Tumblr page, Ask Dr. Joel.

Mathew Rodriguez is the community editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @mathewrodriguez, like his Facebook page or visit him on his personal website.