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Opinion: “Can you be in a relationship with someone who is HIV positive?” – Emmanuel Ifeanyịchukwu Onwe

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Sure! I will.Though I wouldn’t actively seek out someone who is HIV positive, but if I developed feelings for someone who is, I wouldn’t let that stop me.

Being HIV positive generally doesn’t change who someone is. They’re still going to be the wonderful person I developed feelings for.

Maybe we’ll have to take more precautions when we’re having sex, but if I’m in love with someone, that’s not a huge inconvenience. We can choose lower risk activities, use protection, and get tested regularly. Sounds perfectly doable to me.

First of all, I want to recognize that that’s an intense situation to be confronted with. We all should go in for regular sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing, and it can be nerve wracking for many of us, but most people going in for a routine test don’t think they’re going to come away with a positive test result. And then, getting a different result than your partner can be even harder if it brings issues of jealousy into the mix.

While both your situations may seem dire, the good news is that that’s not actually the case. There are a lot of ways to protect yourself against becoming infected with HIV, and your partner has many treatment options that can help him contend with his new chronic condition — and protect you in the process.

Emmanuel Ifeanyịchukwu Onwe
Emmanuel Ifeanyịchukwu Onwe

There is no way for a sexually active person to be 100 percent certain that s/he is protected from HIV infection or any other sexually transmitted infection (STI). However, there are many ways to significantly reduce risk of transmission, even for an uninfected person in a sexually active relationship with someone who is HIV positive.

Many studies have been conducted on serodiscordant couples, meaning that one partner is HIV positive and the other is HIV negative. Growing evidence suggests that as HIV medicines become more efficacious, HIV positive individuals taking antiretroviral medications are significantly less likely to transmit the virus to a sexual partner than someone not taking medication.

In fact, in a study of almost 3,000 monogamous serodiscordant couples, it was found that with the use of antiretroviral therapy, only 3.4 percent of sexually active couples would transmit HIV from the infected to uninfected partner over a period of 100 years. Risk is reduced even further when the following qualifications are met

Conclusively, relationship with a HIV positive person is a goal for me, as long as s/he is adherent to his antiretroviral and also adopts a good lifestyle. Thank you!

 

EDITED ~ Interviewed by Alexander Franklin ©2018

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