A Sexually Transmitted Infection
Katie Salerno/Flickr Creative Commons
If you have a sexually transmitted infection , there is a chance you may have HIV as well. The odds may be greater than you think.
Some STIs like syphilis and herpes cause open sores that make it easier for HIV to enter the body. Others like gonorrhea and chlamydia cause inflammation in the genitals that attracts the very immune cells that HIV likes to target and infect.
Having syphilis can increase your risk of HIV by as much as 500%. Other STIs can do the same. Because of this, you should be tested for HIV if you test positive for any STI.
Should I Get Tested For Hiv Regularly
Yes, you should get tested for HIV at regular intervals, according to your doctors recommendation. Depending on your situation, this could be as often as every 3 months or as infrequently as once a year.
Generally, Wohlfeiler recommends being tested every 3 to 6 months if youre having sex outside your relationship, or once a year if your relationship is monogamous. HIV screening involves a simple blood draw at a regularly scheduled lab or doctors appointment.
For someone who has an HIV-positive partner, getting tested regularly is just good preventative healthcare, Gandhi notes, even though your risk of getting HIV from your partner is essentially zero if their viral load remains undetectable.
Telling Sexual Partners About Hiv Status
Telling partners when you are in a relationshipMany people find it hard to tell a partner about their HIV status. While some people do react badly to news that their partner is HIV positive, others offer support. The views expressed here are of gay and Black African communities that we interviewed in 2005.
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Talking To A Partner About My Hiv Status
Reviewed by our clinical team
Just a few decades ago, HIV was so poorly understood and that most people who got infected would eventually die as a result of the virus. It also meant you couldn’t get life insurance or certain jobs. The stigma around HIV was huge. Today the story is completely different.
In the UK, testing and treatment for HIV has come a long way. Now, with early diagnosis and ongoing treatment, the average HIV-positive person can expect to live a long and healthy life, comparable to that of an HIV-negative person. People who are taking effective treatment are also able to reach an undetectable viral load, which means they cant pass the virus on during sex.
Despite this change, theres still a stigma surrounding HIV, which is why some people whove just been diagnosed might be nervous about telling friends, family and in particular sexual partners.
If youre in this position and youd like some advice, read on.
Do I Have To Tell My Employer About My Hiv Status
Having HIV doesn’t mean you have to stop working. But you need to understand your rights in the workplace. The law says that you can’t be fired for having HIV and that your employer must meet your basic needs. The Americans with Disabilities Act gives federal civil rights protections to people with HIV.
You do not have to tell your employer about your HIV status. But there may be reasons that it would be good for you to tell:
- You may need special permission or a private place to get breaks to take your HIV medicine on time.
- You may have to take extra time off for doctor appointments.
- You work in a place that raises the risk for transmission to others, such as a hospital or lab.1
If you do share your HIV status, you have the right to complete confidentiality. This information must be kept apart from your personnel files.
Your employer is required by law to try to accommodate what you need to take care of your health. If you believe you were fired because of your HIV status, contact a lawyer who specializes in job discrimination.1It is illegal to discriminate against you because you have HIV.
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Sex Or Injection Partners
Telling your partners that you have HIV before you have sex or inject drugs may be uncomfortable. But doing so protects you under the law. It also allows your partners to make decisions that can protect their health.
You should also tell your current or former partners if youve been diagnosed with another sexually transmitted disease . This lets them know that they should also get tested for other STDs.
There are a few ways to let your partners know:
You tell your partners.
- These conversations can be hard. You may have been exposed to HIV by one of your partners, or you may have exposed one or more of them without knowing.
The health department tells your partners.
- This is sometimes called Partner Services.
- Health department staff tell your current and former partners that they may have been exposed to HIV.
- The health department will provide your partners with testing, counseling, and referrals for other services.
- Partner Services programs are available through health departments and some medical offices and clinics.
- Your health care provider, social worker, case manager, patient navigator, or HIV testing center can help you find a Partner Services program.
What Do I Need To Think About
If youve had unprotected sex recently, and have since been diagnosed with HIV, your partner may need to wait for a few weeks before testing to make sure the result is accurate.
If you decide to stop using condoms its a good idea to speak to your HIV doctor or nurse to make sure your viral load is undetectable. Remember that without condoms youre both still at risk of other sexually transmitted infection.
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How To Speak To A Long
For most people, the hardest conversation will be with a long-term partner.
You might be really concerned about how theyll react, and in particular that theyll be angry with you for putting them at risk whether this is the case or not. However, while theres no way to avoid feeling nervous, youll almost certainly feel a weight off your shoulders once the conversation has happened.
To prepare for the process, get some advice from staff at the HIV clinic where youre having treatment. You can also get some information together for your partner to look at this is a good idea if they dont have much knowledge about HIV and how its transmitted.
Your partner may not be aware, for instance, that whilst on effective treatment most HIV positive people will reach an undetectable viral load, which means they cant pass the virus on. Or they might not know that not all kinds of sex are high-risk for transmission.
If youd like to help your partner learn more, you can direct them to the Terrence Higgins Trust or NAM two excellent resources for simple and straightforward information about HIV. It might also help to take them along to future appointments you have with your HIV healthcare team.
Advice If You’re Pregnant
HIV treatment is available to prevent you passing HIV to your child.
Without treatment, there’s a 1 in 4 chance your baby will become infected with HIV. With treatment, the risk is less than 1 in 100 .
Advances in treatment mean there’s no increased risk of passing the virus to your baby with a normal delivery.
But in some cases, a caesarean section may still be recommended, often for reasons not related to your HIV.
Discuss the risks and benefits of each delivery method with the staff at your HIV clinic. The final decision about how your baby is delivered is yours, and staff will respect that decision.
If you have HIV, do not breastfeed your baby as the virus can be transmitted through breast milk.
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Telling Casual Sexual Partners
When thinking about telling a casual sexual partner about your HIV status it’s worth thinking about why you want to tell them and whether the sex you had was protected.
The reasons you have for telling may depend upon the kind of relationship you want to have. For example, do you plan to see the person just once or are you hoping for a longer relationship?
It may also depend on the kind of sex you want to have. If there is no risk of passing on HIV, some people see no reason to talk about their HIV status.
Others tell partners so that its easier to make informed decisions about sex.
Some people prefer to talk about their HIV status in a more neutral environment, at a later date or wait until they have got to know the person better. Other people drop HIV into the conversation very early on, in a casual and matter-of-fact way, so that if the other person cannot accept it, no time is lost.
Youre Hiv Positive Undetectable Met Someone And Want To Have Sex
Although the risk of transmission is minimal when your viral load is low, its never 0 percent. Plus, human error can lead to a viral blip. This is when the viral load goes up slightly, which may increase the risk of transmission.
For these reasons, sharing your HIV status with a new partner is the ethical thing to do. This way, you and your partner can make important decisions to protect your health.
The conversation may intimidate you, but think of it this way: Open communication is an important part of physical intimacy. Its always a good idea to be on the same page before engaging in sexual contact, including disclosing any sexually transmitted infections .
You can talk about your HIV status like you would for other chronic illnesses. Reassure them by talking about your treatment methodology, recent doctor visits, and that your viral load is undetectable.
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How Can My Hiv+ Partner Help
In addition to keeping themselves healthy, your HIV positive partners treatment plan can also help you stay HIV negative. This is called treatment as prevention, and it works because the less of the virus someone has in their system, the harder it is for them to transmit it to someone else. In fact, an extremely exciting recent study found no instances of transmission between partners when the HIV positive partners viral load count was less than 200 copies per ml of blood .
So if your partner takes their medication and gets their viral load count down, they are also helping your health! Everybody wins.
Telling Your Sex Partners
Sex and Sexuality
This may be one of the hardest things you have to do. But you need to tell your sex partner that you are living with HIV, whether you have a primary partner such as a spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend, have more than one partner, or are single or casually dating.
What follows are tips for talking to your main partner, other partners, and former partners.
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She Told Her Partner They Must Use Condoms Because She Had Tb
You know our African men most of the times if you tell him that you are HIV positive, he will say, ‘Oh so the whole of my life I am going to use the condom!’So I am telling my partner that I’m using the condom with you every time because you know I am on, on this long treatment of TB medication, I can’t have direct sex with you, we will have to use a condom. If I use, if we don’t do, we don’t do sex using the condom, you will be affected with this TB and he is understanding. But if I tell him that I’m HIV positive, he will run away from me. Because he is thinking that in future, when I am cleared from this TB medication we will be doing direct sex. He doesn’t know that it’s for life. This person, she is HIV positive.
A few people – particularly the women – felt fearful when they revealed their HIV status to partners: ‘You don’t know whether they will turn it against you.’ And even when people do tell, their partners may not believe they actually have HIV. And partners may not believe that they themselves could be positive: ‘African men they don’t believe that they will just say no. When they are working and fit they just think they are well.’
Telling People You Have Hiv
While understanding and attitudes towards HIV have changed for the better over the years, sharing the fact that you are living with HIV also known as disclosure can still be challenging.
Telling your partner, friends or family members that you are HIV positive is not always easy, however providing them with us much information as possible and answering any questions they may have will make the conversation easier and clearer.
Explaining what the virus is and how it affects the body is a good place to start. Talking about treatment and the meaning of becoming undetectable also can alleviate some anxieties and concerns your partner, family or friends may have about your health and wellbeing.
Fortunately, family, partners and friends can also provide a great source of support and a network that can be there for you when you disclose your status to others. Who you decide to tell and the way in which you approach it is an individual decision, however here is a list of things that may help you when making that decision:
- Not everyone is fully informed or educated about HIV. Keep this in mind when you decide to disclose and consider sharing some insights so that the person gets a better understanding of what HIV means today.
- When you disclose, you have shared that information indefinitely. So if you think the person may not react well, perhaps rethink the decision or consider a better time to tell them.
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How Do I Tell My Partner I Have Hiv
Having the talk with your sexual partner about your HIV-positive status is never an easy conversation, but it is an important one. By disclosing that you are living with HIV, you can help prevent the transfer of HIV, feel more comfortable in your relationship and relieve the burden of keeping information from your partner. Below are some tips to answer the question: How do I tell my partner I have HIV?
He Told His Partner About His Hiv And He Uses Three Condoms To Be Extra Safe*
I have got a girlfriend here. I told her my situation. Showed her my letter of diagnosis and then she said ah, there’s nothing I can do you have to use the condoms. So there’s no problem for me, cos she accepted, I didn’t force her to have intercourse without letting her know, plus condom was actually as I said earlier, I just feel it’s better to tell someone. If we go separate ways we go separate ways. I cannot force her cos what I have is not what she has As I say, that she accepted, and because is using a condom, she accepted cos she just feel no, what’s the purpose of disclosing my status when we are using condoms? And normally I use about three condoms. I put on three condoms. I just put them for the, just for the sake of safety, so that I’m just showing that I just care, I don’t want to infect her Just want her to live as long as maybe if she doesn’t have the disease she may live longer She was my lover from, since, I mean back home from when we had during our school days. So we’re going out together.* Footnote’ experts believe that using more than one condom could increase the chances of condoms breaking.
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Meeting At Online Dating Sites
Sometimes the fear of disclosure is so great that people will access online dating sites, like pozmingle.com, to meet their match or turn to anonymous hookup sites where they can freely post their HIV status.
Dating in real life, of course, doesn’t afford such shortcuts. Disclosing your HIV status to a love interest can be a challenging, even frightening process. But with a little time and preparation, as well as a degree of self-reflection, there are ways to significantly reduce these anxieties.
Other Ways Hiv May Affect Your Life
- you will not be able to donate blood or organs
- you will not be able to join the armed forces
- you may have difficulty getting life insurance to cover a mortgage loan but life insurance is not compulsory when taking out a mortgage unless it’s an endowment mortgage, and there are now specialist life insurance policies for people with HIV
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Who Do I Have To Tell
In many states, youâre legally required to tell those with whom you may exchange bodily fluids, such as sexual partners. The rules vary by state and, in some cases, thereâs federal regulation. So you may want to check with your doctor or social worker.
- Sexual partners. You should tell any sexual partner before you have oral, vaginal, or anal sex. You should also inform past partners within a reasonable time fame, says Jeffrey T. Kirchner, DO, chief medical officer for the American Academy of HIV Medicine. âYour doctor can guesstimate roughly how long youâve had HIV.â
- Needle-sharing partners. If youâre a drug user, you should disclose to anyone you share needles with.
- Blood, tissue, organ, or semen donation staff. You should share your HIV status before you donate. In some cases, it may not be allowed. For example, anyone who has ever tested positive for HIV canât donate blood.
- Doctors and dentists. Informing your health care providers allows them to give you the best care. For instance, they wonât prescribe medications that could interact with your HIV drugs. Health care professionals are bound by privacy rules. They arenât allowed to share your HIV status unless not doing so would result in harm to another person. Some states require you to tell a doctor or dentist before they treat you, so you should find out what the laws are in your state before you get any health care service.