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Advice to Regular Partners with Unequal HIV Status on Condoms

by Redaktie in Health & Body , 25 November 2013

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

The Aids Fonds, the Hiv Vereniging Nederland, the Dutch Association of HIV-treating Physicians, and Soa Aids Nederland come with a univocal advice on condom usage for regular partners with an unequal HIV status. The general advice to use condoms remains in place. But when certain specific conditions are met, regular partners may choose to leave out condoms. Research shows that the risk of the partner with HIV transmitting the virus is (extremely) low when he or she is successfully treated with HIV inhibitors.

Consultation with a doctor is recommended in this situation. In addition to this, both partners should not have any damage to the mucous membrane of the anus, penis or vagina, for example as a result of an STD. Both partners should also realise that the many (very) small risks may become a relevant risk of HIV transmission over the years.

Specific Conditions

The risk of HIV transmission is significantly reduced when the following conditions are met:
  • The partner with HIV is getting successful treatment. Treatment is successful when HIV inhibitors are consistently taken by him or her, and the amount of virus particles in the blood has been undetectable for at least six months (a viral load of less than 50 per ml of blood), and he or she has regular check-ups.
  •  The partner with HIV and his or her HIV negative regular partner do not have an STD and did not run any risk since their last STD test. When the mucous membrane of the anus, penis or vagina has been damaged, the risk of transmission is greater. Besides an STD, wild sex can also cause damage to the mucous membrane.

In Consultation with the Doctor

Sometimes it is difficult to establish whether HIV treatment is successful or whether the mucous membrane is damaged. Visiting an HIV-treating physician is therefore recommended when leaving out condoms is under consideration, for example by partners with an unequal HIV status or a desire to have children.

Shared Responsibility

The partners will explicitly be informed that many (very) small accumulated risks of sex without a condom in time will constitute a relevant risk of transmission. The choice of whether or not to use condoms is the shared responsibility of the partners, and they also share the responsibility of the possible consequences of these (very) small risks. The HIV negative partner should be aware of any possible consequences and make his or her own choice.

General Advice: Condoms!

The organisations think it is important to univocally release this information, as it will counteract stigmatisation of people with HIV. The information is only applicable to people who are in a monogamous relationship. To prevent misunderstanding, the organisation makes it very clear that using condoms remains the advice that is given to the general public.



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