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Enjoying a healthy sex life while living with HIV

Sexual activities do not have to be off the table because you’re living with HIV. You can have sex or be in a sexual relationship if you have HIV.

You may however need to take certain precautions to prevent transmission.

Here’s what you need to know.

Sticking to HIV treatment

Taking HIV treatment every day means you can get to and stay undetectable and that prevents the spread of HIV through sex, to your sexual partner(s) according to current research.

Undetectable means the amount of HIV virus in your body is reduced to the point that it eliminates the risk of transmitting HIV through sex. Undetectable equals untransmittable. This is called treatment as prevention.

But HIV is still in your body and being undetectable doesn’t prevent other sexually transmitted infections. So be safe and use condoms.

Use a condom and dental dams

When used correctly, condoms and dental dams can protect you from transmitting HIV to your partner(s) and getting other STIs during oral sex, vaginal sex, and anal sex.

Use plenty of lube

Using lube during sex can help reduce the risk of HIV transmission as it makes sex safer by lowering the chances of condom breaking.

Condom breakage is normally caused by dryness and friction during sex.

Be sure to stick with water-based lubes, since lubes containing oil weaken latex and can result in condom ripping.

Related: My partner and I have HIV, do we need to use condoms?

Tell your partner to use PrEP

Prep is an HIV prevention option that works by taking one pill every day. Prep stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis.

When taken every day, prep can provide a high level of protection against HIV, and is even more effective when it is combined with condoms and other HIV prevention tools,

People who use properly should take the medicine every day and return to their health care provider every three months for follow up, and prescription refills.

Talk to your health care provider if you and your partner have any concerns about HIV transmission.

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