Mixed-status relationships are an inevitable consequence of the disease. These are relationships where one partner is HIV positive and the other is negative, also known as HIV-discordant relationships. Love does not care much for medical status; it cares about the people in the relationship and the happiness of those people.
A strong bond of trust is necessary to make mixed-status relationships work. People in a mixed-status relationship have the usual love affair trust issues arising from insecurities, finances and infidelity. Over and above this, they have to trust that both parties will strive to protect and support each other.
Loyalty and exclusivity in a relationship are yet more personal choices but I assure you, it is much safer to be faithful to one partner and to build a culture of safe sex with that one partner. The condom, though not a guarantee, still remains the best physical barrier against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The condom is ideal for vaginal and anal sex. Other protective methods must be explored for increased protection during oral sex.
The dental dam comes highly recommended for use during oral sex but it is not as readily available as condoms are. The dental dam is a thin latex or silicone sheet that is often used during dental procedures. This can be placed over the mouth and forms a protective barrier between the oral cavity and private parts. Physical sensation is not affected as the dental dam is made with extremely thin material.
There is no reason why mixed-status relationships can’t flourish if there is trust and the individuals in the relationships are armed with the knowledge of how to care for and protect each other. At the end of the day, HIV/AIDS affects us all but it is not who we are. The day we allow HIV/AIDS to define us as people, as a nation; that will be the day we accept defeat at the hands of this epidemic.