Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Understanding HIV: Having a Mixed Status Relationship

A mixed status relationship means that the two people in a sexual relationship have different HIV statuses. One person is HIV positive and one person is HIV Negative and while a little more care has to be taken to stay safe, it's like any other relationship.

Is It Safe To Have A Sexual Relationship?
Speaking as a person who has been in a mixed status relationship for more than 23 years, I am proof that it is indeed safe to have a long term relationship, even a sexual relationship with an HIV positive partner. Ever since my husband was diagnosed with HIV almost 22 years ago, we've been very careful and all my HIV tests have come back negative. It is very important to use condoms for every single sexual encounter you have, this is how you stay safe and prevent the transmission of the virus from one partner to another.

First Aid
I've been asked if I would bandage my husband's wounds if he got hurt and my answer is always yes, but I would be safe about it. When you're in a mixed status relationship you have to do things like first aid in a safe way. I always have latex gloves in my purse along with band-aids, gauze and medical tape. As long as you are wearing latex gloves to bandage a wound, cut or clean up blood of an HIV positive person, you are protected and safe.

My husband also keeps large band-aids in his wallet in case he gets cuts or scrapes so he can cover it immediately.

Years ago people were afraid that they could get HIV from sharing a toilet seat, cup or utensil with an HIV positive person but we now know that not to be true. It is not possible to get HIV from casual contact and thankfully most people know and understand that.

Medication Adherence
If you're in a mixed status relationship it's important to have a really good line of communication and talk about what medications the HIV positive partner is taking and how often so you can help them keep track and take them everyday. Antiretroviral's can lower the viral load which can reduce the risk of transmission.

I'm not a doctor or nurse so if you have questions you should ask your doctor. These are my own experiences as I've lived with an HIV positive partner for almost 22 years and found these things to be true for us.