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Safer sex

What are common reasons for having safer sex?

My own health

  • I want to run as little risk as possible of getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as hepatitis C, syphilis or chlamydia.
  • I am afraid of becoming infected with a different strain of HIV that could be resistant to my HIV medicines or that is stronger than the virus I already have.

My sex partner’s health

  • I want to reduce as much as possible the chance that my sex partner will get HIV from me.
  • I want to reduce as much as possible the chance that my sex partner will get an STI from me.

Condoms

Be sure to use only approved condoms. Pay attention to the expiry date found on the packaging. After that date, the quality of the rubber will decrease, becoming porous and tearing more easily. For years people were advised to use only extra-strength condoms for anal contact. Studies have shown that it does not matter whether you use an extra-strength condom or a regular one, as long as you use enough lube with it (and that must be either silicon-based or water-based lube, which means you cannot use oil, grease or Vaseline). Condoms designed for women (‘femidoms’) are also available at chemists or pharmacies. This type of condom needs to be inserted prior to sex. It can also be used for anal intercourse.

Sexual

What is safe sex?

Safe is any form of sexual encounter whereby no HIV-positive blood, semen or vaginal fluid enters the body. Read more (in Dutch only). What must you consider to practice safe sex? Use a condom when you have vaginal and anal sexual contact (fucking and buttfucking). Take care during oral sex that no sperm enters your mouth or that you don't come in someone else's mouth. If you want to be certain about this, then use a condom. The chance of anyone becoming infected with HIV by licking the clitoris and vagina (eating pussy) is slight. Eating pussy during menstruation is unsafe. For safe oral sex, you can use small sheets of latex called dental dams.

What is unsafe sex?

Vaginal and anal sexual contact without the use of a condom are unsafe. Vaginal sexual contact (fucking) without a condom can result in the man infecting the woman and vice versa. Anal sexual contact (buttfucking) without a condom, between men or between a man and a woman, can easily end up with the HIV virus entering the partner's bloodstream.

When must you address the issues of risk?

When there is blood-to-blood contact or blood-to-sperm contact, and one of two persons has the HIV virus in their blood. What is PEP? PEP stands for Post Exposure Prophylaxis (P.E.P). It is a treatment using HIV medication given as soon as possible (preferably between 2 and 72 hours) after a possible contact with HIV. There must be some risk of infection, for example, a condom breaking or after unsafe sex when it is certain that the other person has HIV. PEP is available through the GGD and after hours at your local hospital. It is advisable first to ring before you show up. Prescribing PEP is dependent on whether you have been exposed to risk. Doctors' opinions may vary. The effectiveness of PEP is not unquestionably proven, but it is probable that PEP reduces the chances of someone becoming HIV positive. Taking a PEP regimen can, like taking HIV medication, have side effects.

What is PEP?

PEP stands for Post Exposure Prophylaxis (P.E.P). It is a treatment using HIV medication given as soon as possible (preferably within 2 hours and at the latest within 72 hours) after a possible contact with HIV. There must be some risk of infection, for example, a condom breaking or after unsafe sex when it is certain that the other person has HIV.
PEP is available through the GGD and after hours at your local hospital. It is advisable first to ring before you show up. Prescribing PEP is dependent on whether you have been exposed to risk. Doctors' opinions may vary. The effectiveness of PEP is not unquestionably proven, but it is probable that PEP reduces the chances of someone becoming HIV positive. Taking a PEP regimen can, like taking HIV medication, have side effects.

Is there a chance of lower risk with a lower viral load?

If the viral load is undetectable (not measurable in the blood), this means that there is little HIV in the blood. It is highly likely that there may thus be much smaller chance of transmission. When there is little HIV in the blood, then there's also low amounts in the sperm or vaginal fluids. The amount of the fall of the viral load in the blood, sperm, or vaginal fluid can nevertheless be smaller or bigger. Thus unprotected sex with an undetectable viral load is much safer than with a higher viral load, but a very small risk might remain.

end faq

Your sexuality and relationships

Everyone who has HIV ends up living with it in his or her own way, just like everyone experiences his or her sexuality and relationships in his or her own way. Whether you have only just found out that you have HIV or youpositieve seksualiteit have been living with HIV for years already, this booklet offers information and inspiration regarding sexuality. It contains plenty of quotes from people with HIV talking about their sexuality, as well as from people who can offer support in that regard.

Everyone is different
Sexual experience and sexual behaviour differ from person to person. And there are also differences between groups: between men and women, and between homosexuals, straights and bisexuals. It makes a difference whether you are single or in a relationship – and a monogamous relationship is different from an open relationship. It makes a difference whether or not your (sex) partner has HIV, or if you don’t know either way. You can have casual contacts in the form of one-night stands, but there might also be one or more people that you have sex with on a regular basis. There are also differences between people in terms of where they come from. If this booklet says something about a group, it obviously doesn’t apply to every single member of that group. Fortunately there are major differences from person to person.

This booklet is about sexuality for people with HIV. Part of the information deals specifically with HIV. For instance, should you tell someone that you have HIV? And if so, when? And how can you become a mother or a father if you have HIV? This booklet also contains information about sexuality in general – for example about the enjoyment of sex and about sexual problems – wherever HIV might play a role.

Download this booklet or read more of the articles on information -> sexuality.

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