Talking about sex

Many people find it difficult to talk openly and honestly about sex, particularly when it comes to talking about their own sex life.

Talking to a professional

Talking about sex with professionals – such as your HIV doctor, health adviser, nurse, or someone at an HIV organisation – can be a really important part of making sure you have all the facts you need.

Everyone has questions about sex from time to time and finding out you have HIV may raise lots of new questions for you. 

It might help to write questions down before an appointment, so you don’t forget what you wanted to ask, or so you can hand over the list of questions.

The health professionals shouldn’t judge you and more than likely they will have answered questions like yours many times before.

Talking to a sexual partner

Deciding how and when to tell someone that you have HIV can be difficult and we cover that in more detail in Telling people you have HIV. But even if your partner knows you have HIV, it can still be difficult to talk about sex.

After you have first told your partner, it may take a while for them to take in this information and understand what it means for the two of you, especially if they don’t know much about HIV themselves. You can find out more about having a relationship with an HIV-negative partner on this website. 

Sex is part of being intimate with someone and being able to talk and communicate your feelings can increase intimacy between you. You or your partner may want to talk about the level of transmission risk you are comfortable with; your use of condoms; the type of sex you want to have; the possibility of having a baby; sexual problems; or differences in how much sex you want to have.

Clear communication is really important in getting through these kinds of issues. If you don’t talk to each other, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to tackle any issues effectively. It may be difficult, but it’s likely to be worth the effort.

If you’re struggling to find the words, it might help to talk to a professional, or call a helpline, so you can prepare what you want to say before you sit down with your partner.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.