Each week our resident sexpert Glamazon Tyomi answers questions from fans and clients. This week, she responds to a letter from a man who is interested in building a future with a woman who is HIV+. Can he have sex with her without compromising his health? Glamazon Tyomi breaks things down.
I’m a single man living in Los Angeles. I appreciate your tips and education on sex. Today, I’m in need of some of your candid advice. One of my good female friends just confessed that she has deep feelings for me. She wants to be exclusive lovers, and maybe more. I have feelings for her, too, and would like to see where things can go. There is just one issue: She has HIV. I would like to know if we can have oral/vaginal/anal sex without me getting infected with the disease. What advice can you give me? I appreciate your response. Thanks, Ty.
Best, James (name changed for anonymity)
This is an interesting question because it impacts so many individuals. There are approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, and many are in relationships. Being involved with someone who is living with HIV puts you at high risk for contracting the virus. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be open to this new love— it means you have to be careful and mindful of your own health.
The first way you can prevent the contraction of HIV is by using Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment. PrEP is recommended for those who are at high risk of contracting HIV, and it is a medication that is taken daily to reduce the chances of being infected. You should talk to your doctor or a practitioner at a local health clinic to get more information about this form of prevention. Using PrEP daily reduces your risk of getting HIV by 90 percent, and when you combine the use of male condoms, the risk is reduced even more.
HIV can be contracted through unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex. The virus is spread via vaginal fluids, anal fluids, semen, pre-seminal fluid, and blood. Anal sex holds the highest risk because of how easily the thin membrane of the anus can tear during sex, especially during non-lubricated anal play.
You can participate in any form of penetrative sex with your potential partner as long as you use a barrier (latex or non-latex male condom or female condom). For oral sex, you should use a sheer dam to cover her vulva and avoid coming into contact with her vaginal secretions. You can buy sheer dams and condoms from any local pharmacy. I also suggest using a condom when she performs oral on you. HIV can not be spread through saliva, but safer sex places your mind at ease.
So there you have it! You can have whatever sex you want with your partner who is living with HIV as long as you are on PrEP and using barriers to prevent the exchange of vaginal and anal fluids. And make sure she is taking her daily medications, which will also help prevent the spread of HIV.
Another tip: Go forward in love knowing that sex is just one way to connect with someone who adores you. Remember to set a purpose for why you’re together (an example is “to enrich each other’s lives”). Otherwise, your relationship will be only about high-risk sex that will end in a broken friendship. You can download a manual on how to navigate loving relationships here. Be well!
Glamazon Tyomi knows all things sex. Don’t believe it? Just watch.