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.

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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.

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Sexuality at an older age

For many older people, sexuality becomes less important. But that is certainly not to say that it no longer plays any role at all, of course. And it depends a lot on the individual: for some 70-year-olds, sex can still be very important. When you are over 60, you no longer look like you did when you were 20. But you can still find yourself attractive, even as someone who is over 60. What is your self-image? When it comes to changes in your appearance, but also when it comes to your experience of sexuality, it can be important to keep some factors separate: Which things are due to your HIV? Which things are just part of the process of getting older? What else might play a role? Is there anything you can do about it? Or do you simply need to learn to live with it? It sometimes happens that a person will give his or her HIV the blame for a lot of different problems. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between changes that are due to growing older and changes that are due to HIV. Your sex drive decreases as you grow older, for example, but HIV can obviously also play a role in that regard.

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HIV, viral load and (un)protected sex

Information for professionals
 
This information sheet describes the current (May 2011) state of research regarding the relation between HIV viral load, combination therapy and the chance of HIV transmission through (un)protected sexual contact. Professionals who deal with persons with HIV and/or their partners can use this information to give their clients customised advice, thereby enabling them to make informed decisions.

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020 6 160 160

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Servicepunt

020 689 25 77
servicepunt@hivnet.org


For questions about living with HIV. Available monday, tuesday and thursday from 2 PM till 10 PM

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