People living with HIV are not obliged to tell their housemates about their infection. Household practices don’t pose a risk for HIV transmission as long as general hygiene rules are followed (except sexual intercourse). If you live with your family or housemates, you don’t have to separate your kitchenware, nor require specific cleaning after toilet/shower use, nor separate your clothes during laundry.
HIV infection is not an obstacle for your employment. Except the jobs with high risk of sub-dermal interference or wounding, you are not obliged to inform your co-workers or employer about your infection. If no such practices with high risk of HIV transmission are performed at your workplace, you don’t pose a risk for anyone. Upon discovering your infection, your on-site doctor doesn’t have to share this information with anyone. In case of information sharing with your employer without your consent, you can demand justice as per Personal Data Protection Law.
Some people living with HIV, whose health condition was discovered by their employees, might be forced to announce their health condition to their co-workers, or resign. In case of such case, don’t mention your health condition to anyone and emphasize that they can’t tell this to anyone without your consent, either. If they offer you a paid or unpaid leave, do not accept, and continue to work. If they ask you to resign with the guarantee of severance pay, do not resign and never sign the documents they ask you to sign without reading them. Since documentary evidence submission is required to start a legal process, you should communicate through written communication platforms such as e-mail, SMS during this process. And contact us immediately for legal support.
Interactions such as meeting someone new or flirting can be very distressful and challenging experiences for people living with HIV. People living with HIV tend to avoid talking about HIV with their dates due to fear of rejection. Remember that every scenario and every person are different from each other. A possible negative experience in such social relations doesn’t mean that you’ll experience the same thing in your next relations. Remember, you don’t have to tell them you’re living with HIV unless it will be an experience involving a possible HIV transmission (sexual intercourse). And if you will have sex with that person, you still don’t have to tell them you’re living with HIV, however, you have a responsibility to protect your partner’s health.
Remember that many people living with HIV have found their current partners or spouses after they started living with HIV.
If you were in a relationship or married when you discovered you’re living with HIV, and had unprotected sex with your partner, you might think that things got complicated. You need to remember that first thing you need to do is to relax and get information about your new health condition. The more you know, the better you can inform your partner. After you gather yourself, you need to open up to your partner and ensure that they have the test, too. Virus might not have been transmitted to your partner despite unprotected sex. Having the test during the right time after your last unprotected sex would suffice. After telling your partner about your diagnosis, you must absolutely get professional support. Your doctor or our association will help you in that matter.
Even if you’re not currently in a relationship, but if you had unprotected sex with your partners before the diagnosis, you can contact them while safeguarding your privacy and without disclosing your ID (through a fake social media account for instance), and tell them that it would be a good idea to have the test, “without scaring them out” of course. This way you can ensure that people you may have transmitted the virus get diagnosis and access treatment before their health worsens and they infect others.
Although HIV infection is a sexually transmitted infection, it doesn’t prevent you from having a sexual intercourse. Basically, your blood and body fluids (vaginal fluid, rectal fluid, prostate fluid (pre-ejaculate fluid), semen) must enter your partner’s body for the virus to sexually transmit. You can have a safe sexual intercourse without risking your partner by using a protective barrier blocking your sexual fluid transmission.
The first response to HIV diagnosis is much like the response when you’re hurt by a close friend. First the person blames the source of the harm, gets angry with them and walks away. These responses might be sustainable in social relations, but not so likely when it comes to sexuality. Besides, suppressing the sexual desire might cause various psychological issues in time.
For a safe intercourse, first we must locate the risk and learn how to prevent it.
All fluids we encounter during sex, except saliva, pose a risk for HIV transmission. So using a barrier is recommended for all sexual intercourses. Using condoms made of latex or polyurethane from the beginning of the intercourse is absolutely required, particularly during sexual intercourses through vagina (female sexual organ) and anus. Male or female condoms can be used during these intercourses. But female and male condoms should never be used together. Using two condoms simultaneously can increase the penetration and cause the condom to break.
Virus transmission with oral sex is low risk or no risk. Although no transmission through oral sex has been reported so far, oral sex might facilitate the virus transmission. If there’s a wound in the mouth, vagina or penis, or ulcer, herpes, throat inflammation, gingivitis or gum bleeding exist, virus transmission might be possible. Mouth contact with period blood and coming into mouth must be prevented. You can protect yourself by using a condom during oral sex with penis, and by using a latex or silicon square cover during oral vaginal sex and oral anal sex.
Although unprotected oral anal sex do not pose a risk for HIV transmission, it might cause Hepatitis A and B, Giardia intestinalis parasite and E. coli bacteria transmission.
Oral sex may pose low risk or no risk for HIV transmission, but other sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, genital herpes and wart might be transmitted through oral sex.
In order not to increase HIV transmission risk through oral sex, brushing teeth and using dental floss before sexual intercourse must be avoided since gums might be damaged. Mouth care with mouthwashes is recommended before sexual intercourse.
Transmission risk for people taking antiretroviral treatment and whose viral load is suppressed is reduced even more, even if it’s normally low risk for them.
If women who have sex with women can’t find a latex or silicon protective cover during oral sex, they should use a plastic wrap and avoid oral sex during menstruation.
If you share your sex toys with your partner, using a condom and cleaning the toys after sexual intercourse is recommended.
It’s recommended to replace the condom during long sexual intercourses. If you have vaginal dryness or if you’re having anal sex, it’s recommended to use use water-based lubricants to prevent the condom from being abraded and breaking.
You must avoid all kinds of things that might cause skin disintegration, wounding or bleeding during sexual intercourse.
If the condom breaks despite all precautions or a risky fluid transmission happens, seeing an infectious diseases specialist in 72 hours for validation of protective treatments is recommended.
*Information about oral sex is compiled from Disease Control and Prevention Center.