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Ask Dr. K

I am HIV negative and recently started dating a man who is HIV positive. We haven't had sex yet, and I was wondering if there were any general tips you could give me to help reduce the chances of transmission besides condom use and avoiding anal sex.

The most likely act that results in sexual transmission of HIV is from an HIV-infected top to HIV-uninfected bottom during anal sex without the use of a condom. Moving along the continuum of sexual safety towards safer sex is condom use for anal sex, the negative partner being a top and not a bottom, oral sex, and then non-penetrative sex like mutual masturbation, erotic massage, videos, sex toys, etc.

Both you and your partner should get regular STD check-ups to help decrease the risk since STDs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes and syphilis would increase your partner's viral load and HIV transmissibility and thus put you more at risk for getting HIV. You and your partner might consider taking some time to talk about things before having sex. Basically, the conversation could cover what you each are comfortable doing sexually, what you each are concerned about, and how to keep the lines of communication open in your relationship as things move forward. Good luck!

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Tuesday, June 03, 2008.
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