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What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Tips for Safer Sex

Dr. Pepper Schwartz offers ways to talk to your partner

En español | AARP sex expert Dr. Pepper Schwartz offers ways to stay safe and, if you have HIV/AIDS, to keep your partner safe:

  1. Be proud of yourself for taking control of your sexuality and health. Don't feel guilty. Being sexually active and healthy is a gift.

  2. Avoid transmission of HIV by abstaining from sexual intercourse; maintaining a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and you know is uninfected; or using latex condoms which, when used consistently and correctly, have proven to be highly effective in preventing transmission.

  3. Talk about contraception when things start to heat up in your relationship. Tell your partner that men and women show respect and caring by being safe, that a partner can introduce a disease and that you care too much about your and your partner's health to take chances.

  4. Tell your partner if you've tested positive. Say something like, "I need to tell you I've tested positive for HIV. You are probably protected when we use a condom, but it's not 100 percent certain. I hope you'll feel that we can still make love with relatively low risk, but I will understand if you don't want to do that." It's tough to say that, but it's the right thing to do. It's better to risk your partner walking out on you than to put your partner unknowingly at risk.


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