New advice use of condom with HIV

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Couples of whom one of the two is HIV-infected may under certain conditions have unprotected sex with each other. This is a new position that HIV practitioners in Netherlands have on the issue. Condition is that the HIV-infected partner consistently takes retroviral drugs.According to the Dutch Association of HIV Clinicians (NVHB) the inhibitors reduce the presence of virus in the blood. If the virus in an HIV-positive patient is not detected in the blood for at least six months, the risk of infection through unprotected sex is very small. Besides consistently taking HIV inhibitors, both partners must be STD-free and have no damage to the lining of their genitals. A monogamous relationship is a strict condition.


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Timothy Takemoto
Wikimedia commons

However, couples do need to realize the more often they have sex, the more likely it is that the virus is still transmitted, according to the HIV doctors.

When all specific conditions are met, permanent partners can choose to leave the condom off, it says in the new advice. Consultation with a physician is recommended. The Aids Fund, HIV Association Netherlands  and Soa AIDS Netherlands gave this advice since 2011, but now the practitioners also join in.

According to board member Suzanne Geerlings of the NVHB it has been practiced for a while already that HIV patients make the decision to have unprotected sex under the supervision of their physician. For example, couples who want to have children. They may choose to have sex without a condom around the ovulation and the rest of the time they practice safe sex.

HIV Association Netherlands is satisfied with the new policy. It means the advice can now be given to couples in the waiting room. Until recently special measures had to be taken when a couple with an HIV-positive partner wanted children. The man's sperm had to be flushed and then introduced via artificial insemination.

But for gay couples there is good news too. The intimacy can be reintroduced in relationship without a condom, reports HIV Association Netherlands.

The position is sensitive, because of the risk of misinterpretation. According to Geerlings it is very important that couples have the correct information. It is not safe if a HIV patient decides to have unprotected sex without being monitored properly.

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