What is the definition of a discordant couple?
Discordant couples refer to guys who are in a relationship or who are sex partners where the one partner is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative.
Is it possible to date across the HIV line?
Fear and anxiety are some of the first reactions guys experience when a guy discloses that he is HIV-positive.
Another fear that confronts people in these scenarios is that of loss; of losing a partner, the possible loss of your health and the loss of a possible future together.
But as HIV becomes better managed, people live longer with the virus, and discordant couples become more open. Some don’t see the issue as such a big deal anymore.
Can discordant couples / partners still have sex?
Each discordant couple has their own strategy to avoid infecting the negative partner during sex.
This can include using condoms every time they have sex, only having oral sex, pulling out before ejaculating or only allowing the positive guy to bottom.
There is also research which suggests that risk of HIV transmission could be greatly reduced (possibly by more than 90%) if the HIV positive partner is undergoing ARV therapy that has successfully lowered his viral load (the amount of virus in the blood) to undetectable levels.
Even though intensive research is still being done, some researchers suggest that discordant couples, in particular the HIV-negative partner, could also use PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) to prevent HIV-infection. The treatment is still experimental and long-term effects are not yet known.
These all have varying risk levels so every couple should be aware of what these might be and talk about them openly.
It is advisable to consult with your health care professional about the best possible methods to ensure that the HIV-negative partner keeps his status and also for the HIV-positive partner to discuss early treatment possibilities.