Some common themes

It’s difficult to predict the precise nature of the issues that may arise in your relationship because of HIV.

But HIV may have an impact on other themes or issues that can be present in any relationship, especially when significant stressors are present. In some cases, it may be the fear of these issues, rather than an actuality. Some of the issues you may be concerned about include:

  • Intimacy – all relationship rely on closeness of some kind, and HIV can change patterns of intimacy, block it completely, or bring couples closer together.
  • Change – in roles and responsibilities, in hopes or aspirations, or in material and financial circumstances.
  • Inequality – one partner may shoulder more responsibility or more of the financial burden, especially if the other partner isn’t working – although, with effective HIV treatment, most people with HIV can stay in work.
  • Uncertainty – about the future, the risk of HIV transmission, or about starting a family.
  • Communication – disclosure to your partner and others, or discussion of the implications of HIV for your relationship.
  • Fear – of illness, bereavement or rejection, of passing on HIV, or of difference.
  • Isolation – becoming isolated from friends, family or your community.

Many people living with HIV will never have to face any of these issues. Even if they do arise, in many cases you will be able to work through them successfully. There are very many highly successful and enduring relationships where one partner is HIV positive and the other HIV negative.

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 It may have been superseded by more recent developments.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.