Q and A

Question

My boyfriend took off the condom and I am on PrEP…

Hi, I am in a new relationship with my boyfriend and we had sex 3 times with a condom but then he secretly decided to remove the condom while we having sex. He knew his status that he is HIV positive and did not tell me.

The same day 45 minutes later I suggested that we go to the clinic to check the status.

My question is should I leave him or how many risks I am facing in staying in this relationship with him? I am currently taking PrEP for preventing infection.

Answer

Hi there

Sex should always and only be with the active consent of all the people involved. If you were not aware that he took off the condom, then this breaks your consent. Depending on the details in some settings this could be assault.

This doesn’t show that you can trust him or that he respects you in breaking your decision to use a condom.

Although this doesn’t make anything right, you say that you already knew your boyfriend’s HIV status.

Is there any chance that he also knew you were on PrEP (and that you would be protected)?

2 comments

  1. Simon Collins

    Thanks Rob. Legal issues about HIV transmission are very different in different countries. This is likely to also vary for legal issues about consent depending however morally wrong they are. Sex should always be consensual, irrespective of HIV status.

  2. Rob

    Sorry this has happened to you.

    First up, If you are taking PrEP correctly, then the risk to you is low – it’s unlikely that you would get HIV.

    If your partner is HIV+, is on HIV meds and undetectable, then it’s very unlikely that you would get HIV, even if you were not on PrEP.

    If he’s not undetectable, then I would take the PrEP for the required number of days after sex, and eventually get another test.

    Either way, it’s your choice if you want to use a condom, and that should be respected. Your consent to sex was based on a condom being used.

    I stopped using condoms with my partner, but we had a discussion about it first after we both got tested and knew our status. We also agreed that if one of us ‘slips up’ (i.e. unprotected sex with someone else) then we’d respect the other one enough to say so, and get tested. No secrets.

    I’m not sure I would be able to completely trust someone who “stealthed” me though. Just removing the condom and assuming it’s all fine is not okay. It just may be your personal preference, or you may be worried about other STIs, which PrEP would not prevent.

    This is from a UK community organisation called Consent Coalition (https://nottssvss.org.uk/consent-coalition)

    “Otherwise known as ‘stealthing’, the act of removing or deliberately damaging a condom during sex without telling the other person is unacceptable and illegal.

    Not only does this expose your partner to the potential of [..] sexually transmitted diseases, it also shows a complete lack of respect for your partner.

    Consent is given for a certain type of sexual activity, such as vaginal sex with a condom. Once the condom is removed, without the other person’s consent or knowledge, then that consent is no longer valid and it is rape.”

    You also say: “HIV positive and did not tell me”.

    From THT (a UK sexual health charity):

    “If you have a detectable viral load, have unprotected sex and don’t tell your partner, they may be angry that they weren’t told sooner. If you don’t tell your partner about your status and they subsequently contract HIV as a result of having unprotected sex with you, you could be prosecuted.”

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