Living with HIV every day can make you feel differently about yourself and about your relationships. Sorting out your feelings can take time after you’ve been diagnosed.

This will be true for your partner too. You will both have strong feelings about how you’re affected as individuals and as a couple. This is true whether your partner is HIV positive or not.

Dealing with reactions

The reactions of partners or sexual contacts can vary from acceptance to rejection, and can either bring you closer or create a distance. It’s important to work out how and when to talk to your partner, and to have an idea of how to deal with their reactions.


  • Many people with HIV are in a strong and loving relationship
  • Relationships grow and change for all of us, including for people with HIV
  • It’s OK not to be in a relationship, but at some point you might meet someone who's right for you


If you have children, their interests will be close to your heart. Think about how much they should and need to know to help them understand what’s happening. Other family and friends can help too.


You may feel anxious about having sex and worry about the risk to your partner or other sexual contacts. There is no reason why having HIV should prevent you from enjoying a full and safe sex life. If your anxieties do put you off sex, talk it through with your partner. Anxieties don’t just arise when first diagnosed, and can occur later or in a different form.

Talking points

  • If your partner’s last test was negative or they have never been tested, do they want to go for a test?
  • Does your partner want you to go with them for the test and for the results?
  • Does this change what we like doing together, sexually or otherwise?
  • How does this affect others in our family or circle of friends, and what should we do about it?

With a new relationship, some of the same feelings and discussions will emerge.

If you’re finding it difficult to have sex, or to use condoms while having sex, talk about it. Support for both partners is available at your clinic. If you need specialist support and help, ask at your clinic which can provide this for you or refer you to an appropriate service..

Starting a family

All women have the right to make their own choices about fertility and childbirth. Your HIV status does not change that. You have a right to the same level of support from doctors and healthcare workers.

Find out more