Have a new partner who is poz and on treatment. I need to know what I can and can't do before I proceed into this relationship. I am negative. Are simple things like toothbrushes, kissing, cold sores and so on dangerous. I feel out of my league here.
Any help would be appreciated
Hi, thanks for getting in touch! The first thing that you should ascertain is whether your new partner is undetectable. Chances are, he probably is! The vast majority of people who are HIV positive and on treatment are able to achieve what we call an undetectable viral load (UVL). Being undetectable means that the treatments have supressed the virus so much that the level of HIV in the body is extremely low. The great thing is, someone who is undetectable is unable to pass on the virus! So if your new partner falls into this category, you will be protected from HIV due to his undetectable status. You can find out more about UVL here: https://endinghiv.org.au/treat-early/about-undetectable/
For a small number of poz guys, achieving an undetectable viral load is not possible. If your partner is on treatment but not undetectable, he will definitely still have a lower viral load than someone who is not on treatment. So him being on treatment, even if he is not undetectable, means that you will still have some protection.
For HIV transmission to occur, fluid containing enough of the virus (such as blood or semen), needs to enter your blood stream. So things like fucking without condoms (where cum or precum can enter your bloodstream through the membranes in your arse) is high risk (but only if there is enough HIV in the fluid). If he’s undetectable fucking without condoms is safe for HIV transmission – he can’t pass the virus onto you. Things like fucking with condoms, kissing, oral sex and skin to skin contact are all safe for HIV transmission, regardless of whether your partner is undetectable or not.
Another thing that you may want to look into is PrEP. PrEP is a medication that someone who is HIV negative can take daily to prevent contracting HIV. If you are based in Australia, PrEP is very easy to get – you just need to go to your local GP or sexual health clinic and the doctor can write a prescription for you. Once you have the script you can either buy PrEP from a local pharmacy or order it online from overseas. PrEP is extremely effective and is great for peace of mind. You can find out more about PrEP here: https://endinghiv.org.au/stay-safe/prep/
If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Mutual oral and rimming, and I topped using a condom. No ejaculation in my mouth - no cuts, abrasions or bleeding gums. Presence of blood on the sheets next day - with a bit of brown smear so guess it came from his bum. He advised he is HIV positive - but undetectable. Want to believe him - but obviously will be testing anyway. Spoke to PEP hotline nurse but said should be ok for HIV given condom use and oral hygiene. Only heard of the HIV disclosure after the 72 hr window. Assuming he is not undetectable - what are my HIV risks?
Hi thanks for your question. In terms of HIV risk, sex with condoms is considered safe, regardless of the HIV status of your partner. As it sounds like you’re aware, an undetectable viral load further eliminates any risk. Someone who has an undetectable viral load cannot pass on HIV to their partners. Regardless, because you were using a condom, there is no risk. Oral sex and mutual masturbation are also considered safe in terms of HIV risk. If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to get in touch!
I am a HIV negative male and I had been chatting to a guy for a couple of months online with a view to eventually meeting up for sex. We had discussed the possibility of unprotected sex and I asked him if he was "clean" to which he replied "I am". I had recently tested negative to all STI's including HIV. We met on two occasions, 11th November and 11th December 2016. We had unprotected sex on both occasions on the basis that we both assumed neither had any STI's including HIV. I was the top and he was the bottom in both cases and both times ejaculation was inside his anus. He ejaculated externally on himself. My last HIV test was 3rd January 2017 and was negative. Soon after my test I learned from a friend that this person was infact HIV Positive Undetectable and he never told me at all. I am guessing that he has broken the law by not disclosing his HIV status to me until I confronted him about it over a month after both sexual acts and he admitted he was HIV undetectable and told me he has been HIV Positive for 4 years and undetectable for 3.5 years. Needless to say I am concerned that I may have contracted HIV myself from him. Given the sexual acts involved, am I at very low to negligible risk of having contracted HIV from him? I am circumcised if that means much. I intend to have another test mid-March as my January test would have been too soon to tell I am guessing. I am both concerned about my HIV status and that he technically broke the law by not informing me.
Hi, thank you for your question. I am sorry that you have been this.
The chance of acquiring HIV from someone who is undetectable is extremely low. In fact we recommend that all HIV positive guys go on antiretroviral treatment in order to achieve an undetectable viral load, as this is a recognised and effective strategy for stopping the transmission of HIV. It is rare for a person living with HIV who is undetectable to transmit HIV to a negative sexual partner. It might be worth taking some time to familiarise yourself with this information for future sexual encounters: https://endinghiv.org.au/nsw/treat-early/undetectable/
In NSW the Public Health Act 2010 requires that person must inform a sexual partner of their HIV status prior to sex – which includes both and oral – unless they are taking ‘reasonable precautions’ against the transmission of HIV. The definition of ‘reasonable precautions’ has not yet been tested in a NSW count. However, it could be argued, that because there have been no recorded cases of a HIV positive person who is undetectable transmitting HIV to a HIV negative sexual partner, this could be considered as taking ‘reasonable precaution.’ See: http://www.acon.org.au/what-we-are-here-for/hiv-support/#hiv-disclosure and https://www.afao.org.au/about-hiv/hiv-and-the-law#.WI7QEdJ96M8
What number of viral load is considered undetectable?
In Australia, undetectable viral load is generally any number less than 20-40 copies per millimetre of blood. It would depend on the test that is used. To be sure, we would advise to speak with your doctor if you are positive and having your viral load count done.
My boyfriend is HIV positive, I am female and negative. He has an undetectable viral load. What are the risks if we always use condoms correctly?
If your boyfriend is maintaining an undetectable viral load you are at very low risk of acquiring HIV. Using condoms correctly as well will eliminate this risk. If you are considering not using condoms with your partner for any reason, then it would be a good idea to discuss this with his doctor.
I have been diagnosed with HIV, and have very low viral load at the moment. If i have more unprotected sex, can it make the hiv worse?
As you have a very low viral load, having more unprotected sex may potentially lead to an STI which can also impact on your viral load (the amount of HIV in your blood) if you’re not on treatment. This can make you more infectious to your partners. If you’re HIV positive, it’s crucial to monitor your viral load and test for other STIs regularly. You also need to be aware of laws concerning disclosure, which vary between states, find out more at http://halc.org.au/publications/guides-to-hiv-and-the-law