We are both positive and had unprotected sex – what are the risks?
My partner has been on treatment for almost a year and I am also HIV positive but not on treatment. We ran out of condoms and we had unprotected sex. What are the risks involved and what can we do to minimise the risks?
When both partners are HIV positive the main reasons to continue using condoms are to protect against other STIs or pregnancy. The risk of reinfection is low and is only a worry if one partner has drug resistance. The risk of reinfection is likely to be as low as the original risk of HIV infection itself.
The lower your and your partner’s viral loads are the less likely reinfection is to take place. The risk if it does take place has to do with any resistances you or your partner may have. This resistance can be transmitted. If neither of you have any resistances, or if you have the same ones, then there is unlikely to be any risk to having unprotected sex with each other.
If you and your partner have never been tested for resistance you can ask for this at your clinic.
For many HIV positive people, the positive benefit of being able to have sex without a condom outweighs the generally very low risk of resistance. So long as you are not worried about pregnancy or other infections, or one of you has a detectable viral load on treatment, the risk from not using a condom is generally low. This has to be both your choice though
You can find information about reinfection in out testing and transmission guide.