I’m positive, but
my negative partner of two years thinks the risk of
infection when he fucks me is low and worth taking.
suggested this, I thought, no way—I couldn’t live
with myself if I infected him. But the more we talk, I start
thinking it’s his right to choose.
mixed-status couples face these questions. For straight and gay
relationships, emotional bonding and sex go hand in hand. The condom
may become an emotional and physical barrier. Your partner may be
developing feelings of separation because he can’t physically share
what he’d like to. This is one way of proving love and commitment. As
the HIVer, you may feel responsibility toward him.
transmission facts. Risk depends on the sex you’re having. A 1999 study
of gay and bisexual men found the chance of infection for insertive
partners in anal intercourse is .06 percent—about 3 in 5000 exposures.
If you’re the insertive partner, your negative partner’s risk is about
1 in 125. Damage to the rectum increases risk for both partners. A
10-year study of heterosexual vaginal sex found male-to-female
transmission less common—about 0.0009 percent. The woman-to-man risk
was eight times less than that. Risk is exacerbated for anal and
vaginal sex if other sexually transmitted infections exist.
gauge your own health and adherence to meds. Although researchers agree
that undetectable viral load makes you less infectious, semen and
vaginal fluids can still contain HIV.
Third, discuss if your
relationship is a long-term commitment. Consider individual counseling
so your partner can explore his condom issues. If you can balance
risk with desire for physical and emotional connection, you can reach a
mutually respectful conclusion.
+ Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, is a professor at New york
university and director of the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies.
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