Having a relationship with an HIV-negative partner

Michael Carter

Many people with HIV are in loving, supportive and intimate relationships. And many are with a partner who is HIV negative.

While HIV is an important consideration, particularly with regard to sex, it is a very small part of who you are. It doesn’t change who you are or what you have to offer a partner in terms of a loving relationship. It is also worth remembering that other people have their own history and issues. These may not include a long-term health condition, but we all have things in life that affect us as an individual and that we bring with us to a relationship.

All relationships go through ups and downs. The presence of HIV in a relationship can exaggerate the routine stresses and strains that are inevitable if you are close to someone.

HIV can also mean that there are additional worries and things for you and your partner to think and talk about – not the least of which will be the risk of HIV transmission.

Coming to terms with your own diagnosis, and feeling good about yourself, will help with telling partners about your status and dealing with HIV in a relationship.

This section provides information on some of the more common issues that arise in relationships where one partner is HIV positive and the other HIV negative. It necessarily focuses on potentially problematic aspects of your relationship.

Published October 2013

Last reviewed October 2013

Next review October 2015

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this section.

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 It may have been superseded by more recent developments.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.