With treatment and care becoming increasingly available, PLHIV are regaining their health, living longer, fulfilling lives, and planning for their futures. This includes decisions about sex, sexuality and the possibility of starting or expanding families. Despite this, there still prevails an underlying assumption that one’s sexual and reproductive life stops when one becomes HIV positive. Often society at large, health care workers, decision makers and even PLHIV themselves hold this assumption.
For a person living with HIV, dealing with sex means dealing with difficult issues at vulnerable moments and in vulnerable settings. Often people living with HIV are expected to disclose their HIV status before engaging in sexual relations – in some countries it is even a legal obligation, even though this may lead to (gender-based) violence. People living with HIV are expected to initiate and engage in safe sex strategies to prevent the transmission of STIs or transmitting HIV to one’s sexual partner(s). With regards to family planning, people need to be able to make well- informed decisions around conceiving, pregnancy, preventing mother to child transmission and breastfeeding.
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