What does the term mixed-status relationship mean?
A sexual relationship in which partners have dissimilar HIV statuses is known as mixed-status relationship. One of the partners is HIV-negative while the other one is HIV-positive. It may involve couples that are in a long-term and stable relationship or just one encounter between them. Such relationships are also described using various other terms like:
• HIV-positive/negative and
Can couples in the mixed-status relationship have safe sex?
In a mixed status relationship, there is always the possibility of HIV infection. However, though the risk is almost constant, there is a lot you can do to minimize it. In case you are currently in this type of relationship and you want to have sex with your partner (be it oral, anal or vaginal), there is a way to protect you from HIV as well as other STIs. This involves correctly and consistently using dental dams and condoms. Read this resource to learn more about how to use dental dams and condoms correctly, visit this link.
Get tested regularly
Being in a mixed-status relationship, it is important that you are always tested for HIV. In case you are found to have the virus, you will be put on antiretroviral therapy immediately. You can find HIV testing sites near you here, or you can opt for home testing for HIV.
What role can you play as the HIV-positive spouse in a mixed-status relationship?
You will need to communicate openly with your partner about HIV prevention and safe sex practices if you are in a mixed-status relationship. For support and information, you and your beloved partner should consider visiting local HIV/AIDS organizations and other health providers.
If you happen to be the HIV-positive spouse in the mixed-status relationship, there are certain steps you can take to lessen your chances of infecting your partner with HIV. One of these steps, and the most important one, is to be on antiretroviral therapy. Through taking your drugs on time, you will help reduce the viral load that is found in your body fluids as well as decrease your chances of infecting your spouse with HIV. However, it is instructive to note that you can still infect your partner with HIV even if you have reduced viral load. This means that, at all times, you should practice safer sex and use a condom. In case you inject yourself with drugs, you should avoid sharing syringes, drug preparation equipment or water with other people as it is possible for HIV-blood to be transmitted through these items.
What role can you play as the partner that is HIV-negative?
As the partner that is uninfected in the mixed-status relationship, you also have a role to play even if you are not infected with HIV. You need to talk with your partner regarding safer sex practices and condoms use. Also, especially for a long-term relationship couples, give support to your partner by reminding them to take their medications at the right time. This will lower the viral load of your partner as well as lower his or her risk of transmitting HIV.
Another thing you may consider doing is staying up to date on PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). Even though researches do not recommend that PrEP be used immediately for preventing infection of HIV, recent studies indicate that someday, it could be used in combination with condoms, safe sex practices as well as other HIV prevention techniques to avoid infections.
Finding out that your loved one is HIV positive is difficult. However, with some consideration and necessary caution, there is a good chance that you can make your relationship work and still enjoy your life together fully. Are you living in a mixed-status relationship? What are some of the things you do to make your relationship better?