Ask the Expert: Talking with Your Partner About Safe Sex

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Being HIV positive is not enough reason not to be sexually active if you have correct knowledge about HIV. If you think this relationship is becoming meaningful, is heading towards becoming intimate sexually, you need to start having a conversation about sex, safe sex, and what your partner thinks is safe sex. When we talk about safe sex, I think there are two big silos.

The first is the STD/STI silo. The history or having an infection and the other is prevention. So you want to talk to your partner about their knowledge of prevention and what their stand is about prevention. There are people who don't use any form of prevention, and they don't think they need to. So if you're going to go into that relationship and you're pro-prevention, then you have to have that conversation.

Then the other silo is about STDs. Do you have an STD right now? Have you been treated for an STD in the past? Is there anything I need to know about you? You want to know what you're getting into to get proper timely treatment and to prevent it from happening in the future.

There is a lot of evidence about what the rate of HIV transmission meant to women and women to men is per sexual intercourse. And it's low when number 1, the HIV positive person has undetectable viral load. 2, they wear condoms despite the undetectable viral load, 3, both of them have no other STIs, things that can incite inflammation that makes transmission increase. And then if the man or the woman who is HIV negative is on PrEP. So PrEP, P-R-E-P is pre-exposure prophylaxis. If you meet that criteria and they get tested regularly, they can have a meaningful sexual relationship.