Life with HIV: Sexual relationships amongst sero-discordant couples

Know Aids   No Aids

There is a great emphasis to educate people living with HIV in India, in terms of not only knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS but also to understand their medicines, read laboratory results, how to better care for themselves and how to lead a healthy life – mentally, physically, emotionally (and spiritually). I have come across a doctor who suggests that since one partner is HIV Positive, they should abstain from sex. They were even advised to refrain from kissing.

HIV is not transmissible via kissing as we all know. True, there are traces of virus present in saliva that can be detected under the microscope but then for a person to be HIV positive through kissing means a gallon and gallon of saliva needs to be passed through in a day. The study has also proved that kissing (in any form) is not the source of transmission unless BOTH the partners have open sores, bleeding gums or wounds inside their mouths.

Regarding oral sex, care should be taken when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness. Neither partner should have any form of Sexually Transmitted/Infectious disease like Chlymadia, Herpes, Gonorrhea and so on, as it can lead to transmission of STDs.

Coming down to having sex the natural way (without a condom), this is still under experimental method.  Many are not sure if unprotected sex is regarded safe without having to take PrEP.  Here, as a “disclaimer”, I will state an example how it is like being a “mixed status couple” by presenting myself for the study/research:

My husband and I have been together for 3 years and completed 1 year of marriage. We had done all things as mentioned above and I make sure that he gets checked for HIV every 6 months whenever I myself go for testing (for CD4 and Viral Load). It is to be noted that I, as a person living with HIV, am responsible for the welfare of my partner when it comes to sex. We normally use barriers but once in a blue moon, we have “direct” sex. When it comes to having sex without protection, all things have to be taken under consideration:

  1. Overall health
  2. Viral Load should be “undetectable”
  3. CD4 should have a good count of above or equal to 600
  4. No STD or any open wounds/sores/blisters.

I am not suggesting that you all do the same as I do. Bodies differ, so what I mean to say here is that it is important to be responsible for your overall health and educate yourself in regards to how well you can lead your life being HIV Positive and motivate yourself to make healthy choices. Being confident and happy “within” is the overall success for being a good example to others in choosing healthy choices themselves.

About the writer:

Jyoti Dhawale is an HIV activist, writer, blogger and a front runner campaign into breaking the myth, stigma and discrimination that surrounds HIV being HIV positive herself and telling her story, her experience and sharing knowledge. Also Community Advisor Board for The Well Project (USA), International Steering Member for Prevention Access Campaign (USA), Brand Ambassador for Being Positive (Bangalore), she has worked with countless number of NGOs, holding talk shows and blogging. Her interest is vast though travelling, motorsports and photography top the list.

Editor’s note: This blog post has been published with permission from the writer. The original blog post was published on The Well Project

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