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Of course you can still have sex! HIV is not a reason to give up sex. Safer sex offers your partner very effective protection from HIV infection.
Most importantly: condoms offer very good protection during vaginal or anal sex. You can find other information on safer sex here.
If a condom tears during sex, it is also possible to reduce the risk of infection to your partner using HIV medication. Several weeks' treatment can prevent HIV from taking hold in the body. In most cases, the person remains HIV-negative. This treatment is called post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Your partner should begin treatment as soon as possible after being exposed to HIV. You can find more information about PEP here.
Protection from other sexually transmitted infections
Sexually transmitted infections like syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea are unpleasant and put further strain on your body. You should do all you can to protect yourself from them.
Alongside practicing safer sex, immunization against hepatitis A and B is highly recommended.
Unfortunately, condoms don't offer perfect protection from all infections. Some pathogens can be transferred very easily, for example with the hands or by kissing. If you have sex with multiple partners, you should be tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections. That way, you can be treated quickly if necessary.
It is important to know: sexually transmitted infections can increase the risk of HIV infection. If your partner has a sexually transmitted infection, their chance of becoming infected with HIV may also be higher. You can find more information about this topic here.
Transmission risk with HIV therapy
The risk of transmitting HIV to your partner is lower when you are on successful HIV treatment. But beware: HIV treatment does not mean that you cannot pass on the virus. You can find more information about this topic here.
Do I have to say something?
You may be asking yourself whether you should tell your new sexual partner about your HIV status. There's no general answer to that question. There is no law in Germany that requires you to tell your partner. In some other countries, however, such a law does apply.
There are two sides to consider. Your partner may withdraw from you when you tell them that you are HIV-positive. On the other hand, you may find it to be a relief to be open. The best option is to try to find out what works best for you. The specific situation may also play a role: you may decide to act differently with a fleeting sexual contact than you do in a relationship.
If you are worried about making this decision, we recommend that you seek counseling at an AIDS service organization.
Whatever you decide: we recommend that you always practice safer sex.
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