A few sex tips for HIV-positive people universally apply to everyone. However, there is one thing that every person living with HIV should know: anyone can have safe sex, no matter their status.
And sometimes, people with HIV might ask, “Is anal sex safe for gay and heterosexual people who are HIV-positive?” The answer is yes, but you should take additional steps to ensure your and your partner’s safety.
This article will give you some safe sex tips and ideas to help you and your partner have a healthy sex life.
Safety Tips for HIV-Positive People. Essential
This section will cover the basic rules of safe sex for HIV-positive people. If you’ve ever asked a question like, “Is oral sex safe without protection?” or wondered, “How to have safe sex”—then these rules will be helpful for you.
We’ll address these tips under two headings:
When the two partners are HIV-positive
If you and your partner are living with HIV, you may have different strains of HIV. If you are taking medication and your viral load is undetectable, there is very little chance you will pass on the virus.
However, if you’re not taking medication or your viral load isn’t low enough to be undetectable, it’s best to use protection when having sex with an HIV-positive partner. You can also use condoms to prevent the transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases. The risk of passing on HIV or another STI is higher if you’re not taking medication or if your viral load is detectable, so it’s essential to take precautions.
When only one partner is HIV-positive
Where only one partner is HIV-positive, questions like “Can you get HIV with a condom?” are often asked.
It’s understandable, as it’s not always easy to know whether you should use protection, even if there’s only one HIV-positive partner. Most of the time, it comes down to the level of protection you want when having sex with an HIV-positive partner.
The first thing the HIV-positive partner should do is to get an ART. The more effective the treatment, the lower your viral load will be. This makes it less likely that you’ll pass on HIV to your partner while having sex.
However, even if you’re taking medication and have an undetectable viral load, we still recommend condoms as they provide extra protection against other STDs.
Another layer of protection for people having unprotected sex with HIV-positive people is PrEP and PEP.
PrEP is a preventive treatment that can help reduce the risk of HIV infection. It involves taking a pill every day. PEP stands for post-exposure prophylaxis and is a treatment that can help prevent HIV from developing in someone who might be at high risk of HIV infection.
You must start using PEP as soon as possible after a potential exposure to HIV, but you must also take it for 28 days. If you’re unsure of your partner’s HIV status, talk to them about testing together and sharing the results.
PEP is only effective if you take it within 72 hours of exposure to HIV. PEP may also be called post-exposure prophylaxis and is a treatment that can help prevent HIV from developing in someone who’s recently been exposed to the virus (for example, if you think your condom broke during sex or you’re not sure of your partner’s status).
LGBTQ+ Contraception and Safe Sex Features
The LGBTQ+ community has its own unique set of issues related to sexual health. For example, many people in the LGBTQ+ community have a higher risk of contracting STIs because they may not always use condoms during sex and are less likely than heterosexuals to get tested regularly.
This is partly because of the stigma surrounding homosexuality and bisexuality—which can make some people uncomfortable talking about their sexuality with healthcare providers.
But with the following sex tips, you can help ensure that you and your partner are safe from sexually transmitted diseases.
Stay up to date on vaccines.
If you’re gay, you might have asked, “Is anal sex safe?” Yes, it is, but only if you’re safe. You can help protect yourself and your partner by getting vaccinated against HPV and hepatitis A and B, which are spread through intimate contact.
Use your HIV drugs
Safe sex should be a concern for both partners. Drugs like ART, PrEP, or PEP can help keep you and your partner from getting HIV. If you’re on ART, take it as prescribed. And if you’re using PrEP or PEP, take them on schedule so they can protect you from HIV infection.
Even if you’re part of the LGBTQ+ community, when you’re anatomically suited for sex and reproduction, you can use birth control to help prevent pregnancy. If you’re female and have a uterus, many forms of birth control are available, including pills, patches, shots, IUDs, diaphragms and cervical caps, and sponges.
If you’re male or transgender and have a penis, you can use condoms to prevent pregnancy. And if you’re female or transgender and have a vagina, you can use condoms as well.
If you don’t want to get pregnant, you must talk with your doctor about which birth control method is best for you. Your doctor will help you decide which way works best for your body type and lifestyle.
LGBTQ+ people who ask, “Is oral sex safe without protection?” should know that oral sex can transmit certain STDs. This is because the mouth is a mucous membrane, meaning it has a high concentration of cells that can carry viruses and bacteria. The more skin-to-skin sexual contact there is during oral sex, the greater the chance of contracting an STD.
Gay and lesbian people also have special condoms designed for safe sex. These condoms are lubricated and have a larger reservoir tip to accommodate the different shapes of male and female genitalia. Also, there are condoms, designed for lesbians ( latex tissues for oral sex and finger condoms for fingering)
We’ll now look at some of the most common questions you might have about safe sex, especially for the LGBTQ+ community.
Do gay guys have to wear condoms?
Yes, gay men have to wear condoms if they are having sex. Many people don’t realize that the risk of getting an STD is just as high for gay men as for straight people.
This is because men who have sex with men are more likely to be exposed to HPV and other infections than their heterosexual counterparts.
Should lesbians use condoms for oral sex?
Lesbians who are worried about how to have safe sex should know that they need to use condoms for oral sex. Lesbians risk catching STDs and HPV, just like their heterosexual counterparts.
Oral sex can transmit infections between partners, so it’s essential to protect yourself and your partner with a safe barrier like condoms or dental dams.
Why are silicone-based lubes dangerous for gay men?
This is a common misconception that people have perpetuated. Silicone-based lubes cannot cause an infection because they don’t contain any harmful ingredients.
The biggest concern with silicone-based lubes is that they can be challenging to wash off and may stain clothing or bedsheets.
Can anesthetic lubes be dangerous?
Yes. While some people use anesthetic or numbing lubes to numb their anus and rectum, it can be dangerous. Anesthetic lubes don’t numb your skin or the tissue inside your body.
Instead, they contain ingredients such as lidocaine and benzocaine that temporarily numb your nerve endings, so you feel less pain when using them during anal sex.
You won’t feel it immediately if you sustain injuries or damage to your anus or rectum while using anesthetic lube. This can make it difficult to tell if there is any bleeding or if something is wrong until after the sexual activity has already occurred.
Another problem with anesthetic lubes is that the ingredients can be toxic to the body. Some doctors have expressed concern that the components in numbing lube could be harmful if used too frequently or over a long time. This is especially true if you have sensitive skin or allergies to certain chemicals.
Should you still use contraception if you and your partner are already HIV-infected?
People living with HIV who don’t want to conceive should still use contraception. Most forms of contraception won’t interfere with your ability to control your HIV infection.
It’s important to remember that no form of contraception is 100% effective, so you need to use condoms besides other methods. If you’re considering starting a family, talk with your doctor first. You can even give birth to an HIV-negative baby and provide breastfeeding if you are taking special anti-retroviral treatment.
Can you get HIV with a condom on?
You can get HIV/AIDS if you use a condom during sex. Condoms are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, but they don’t provide complete protection against STIs like HIV and herpes.
Using a condom every time you have sex is still your best defense against infection.