If I'm HIV positive, what does this mean for my future?

Here are some questions you might be asking:

Do I have a future? How long will I live?

Just like people who have other chronic diseases like asthma, epilepsy or diabetes, a person with HIV can live a long and healthy life if they take care of their health. Like others with chronic diseases, you can study, work and have a family. If you have HIV you should have regular medical check-ups, eat well and exercise, stay away from unhealthy or risky behaviours (like using drugs and having unprotected sex), and get support when you’re stressed. Most importantly, you must take your medication correctly every day!

Can I have sex?

Yes. But any time you have unprotected sex with someone, you risk passing HIV to them. Putting them at risk without them knowing isn't fair to them. If you and a partner want to have sex, it's best to be honest with them so that they can make informed decisions about sex and protection. Using condoms correctly, and using them every time you have sex, can prevent the other person from getting infected. Though the risk is lower, HIV can be transmitted any time that you or your partner are exposed to semen or blood (including menstrual blood), so you must also take care during oral sex. Being on treatment (ARVs) and ensuring that you are virally suppressed will also protect your partner – but condomise too!

Can I have children?

Yes, women who are HIV positive can have children who are born HIV negative. But you must take precautions so you don't infect your partner or your baby. If you are planning to get pregnant, it's very important that you talk to the nurse at your clinic or your doctor about the safest way to do so. The doctor or nurse will give you HIV medication to stop HIV passing to your child.

Planning for your future is important regardless of your HIV status. You probably have a lot more questions so speak to a doctor, nurse or counsellor, or send a question to B-Wise, and get the right information.

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Anonymous 9 October 2017 15:12

Hello bwise have u heard about u=u . We have , please enlighten us on how you incorporating that message when u talk about sex and lwhiv

B-Wise Expert Expert 17 October 2017 08:21

Hi Anonymous. Yes, we have heard about U=U and we are very excited about this new development in the fight against HIV/AIDS! U=U means that if you are living with HIV, taking your treatment correctly and have an undetectable viral load, then you cannot infect your sexual partner(s) – even if you don’t use a condom. It’s a message that can help people to start addressing stigma in a new way. It also means those who may not have tested or started treatment yet, can hear about this new reason for taking your antiretrovirals (ARVs) every day to stay healthy and protect the ones they are in a relationship with.

An undetectable viral load is when the blood test for viral load is taken and the result comes back as undetectable. If the person with an undetectable viral load continues to take their ARVs every single day, they will not have any risk of infecting their sexual partner(s) because there is no virus moving around in their system anymore. However, it is important to remember a few things when talking about U=U. Yes, it is really exciting for people living with HIV, and it can help their sex life and give them a way to plan a family safely… plus they don’t have to feel like they put their sexual partner(s) at risk. But U=U is only true if:

·         The person has kept an undetectable viral load – this means they have to keep taking their treatment every day

·         Both partners get tested for other STIs before they stop using condoms

·         The person living with HIV is on treatment for at least 6 months before they consider U=U applies to them

·         Get your viral load checked before you stop using condoms. Getting checked once every 6 months or once a year is not enough to make sure your viral load stays undetectable the whole year round – so rather be safe and check

·         You know that U=U does not mean that the person is cured. ARVs do not cure HIV. They control it and stop it from multiplying in the body

So encourage your friends and family to know their status – go and get tested, with your partner if you can. Not knowing your status is the most dangerous option – it means you can’t protect yourself and you can’t access treatment.


Anonymous 4 August 2016 16:17

how do l get pregnant with hiv. negative man

B-Wise Expert Expert 6 August 2016 08:23

Hi Anonymous. Thanks you for your question. If you have HIV, there is a good chance you can have an HIV negative baby and your partner can stay HIV negative, but it is important to talk to your health care provider so that you can discuss the best options for you and your partner and make sure you are well and on ARVs before you start trying for a baby. Being circumcised, treating any STI and being on ARVs are some of the things that can protect your partner from getting HIV.