Relationships and sex life

Being diagnosed as HIV-positive doesn't mean that you have to give up on relationships and sex. Find out here how you can protect against passing HIV on to your partner.

Two people lie naked on a bed. The faces are not to be seen. The man holds the foot of the other person.

Safer sex rules

The safer sex rules are a reliable way of preventing HIV being passed on, and also offer effective protection against other sexually transmitted infections:

  • Use a condom for vaginal and anal sex.
  • For recommendations based on your personal sexuality, try the Safer Sex Check.

Therapy protects against HIV

People with HIV are no longer infectious if they follow their therapy as prescribed, and their viral load is below the detectable threshold. This means that they can have unprotected sex, without worrying that they will infect their partner.

In a relationship with someone who is HIV-positive, protection against possible transmission is the shared responsibility of both partners. They should decide together whether protection should take the form of sex with condoms, or effective therapy. Joint decisions aside, it is still the case in Switzerland that HIV-positive individuals who have unprotected sex may face criminal prosecution. Find out more here: criminal liability

Other sexually transmitted infections

HIV drugs do not protect against infection with other sexually transmitted infections, and those with HIV face particular health risks in this regard:

  • In many cases, STIs will be more severe in those who are HIV-positive, and they are also more difficult to treat
  • STIs can increase the risk of contracting HIV, while at the same time increasing the risk of passing it on.

More information on protecting yourself against other STIs here: STI section

Drugs, sex and HIV

Drugs can increase sexual desire, lessen inhibitions, and heighten the intensity of the moment. Yet using drugs can also mean that you lose control. Being under the influence of drugs makes it more difficult to protect yourself and others against contracting HIV.

Drug use represents an additional health risk for those who are HIV-positive. The way in which HIV medication and the drugs interact means that taking them together can have negative or even dangerous consequences. It is therefore important that the doctor treating you knows that you use drugs, to avoid unwanted side effects and interactions.