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Dear Mrs. P,

I am a HIV-negative gay middle-aged man who has yet to be successful in love. Recently, however, I have met a simply wonderful man who pushes all the right buttons from spiritually to sexually and many things in between. He was very honest to me from the beginning, telling me he’s a symptom free HIV-positive man. I have been out and very active in my GLBT community services and have embraced who I am since my teens.

The question I have for you is, if this man turns out to be “the one,” will we ever be able to have natural, bareback sex without a risk to me?

I really like the new look of

Very Sincerely,

Hopeful to find Love


Dear Hopeful:

I appreciate your question very much.  I am always encouraged to hear that there are others who are not dismayed nor disgruntled simply because they haven’t found love by a certain age!

In terms of sexuality between one partner who is HIV-positive and another who is HIV-negative (now sometimes called a “magnetic couple”) the question is not a simple one to answer.  There is a lot to consider when talking about unprotected sex in magnetic couples.

First is the status of the HIV-positive partner.  The goal for a lot of HIV-positive people and their medical team is to get and keep their viral level to that of undetectable.  It sounds like your fella is being honest with you from the start and that is a good place to begin the dialog about how to go ahead and be safe for both of you.  Not knowing (nor really needing to know) what sexual roles and activities you are engaging in with your man, I would recommend you to look at a few really great websites.  The first is local here in Minneapolis – The Red Door Clinic at Hennepin County is an excellent resource for both HIV-positive care and access to treatment as well as for testing and educational services for all people identifying as men how have sex with men (MSM).  They are a very good place to start in terms of a quick risk analysis and referrals to other services and groups that serve magnetic couples.

Another great resource online is The Body.  They have discussion boards (moderated by medical staff) for people in situations such as yours.

Sexuality and intimacy is wonderful for those that are mentally and emotionally ready to assess the risks and benefits of the actions they are taking.  It sounds like you are off to a wonderful start with the communication that is necessary for magnetic couples to achieve a safe and positive outcome in their sex life.  Intimacy is different for everyone but I encourage you to move ahead with exploring possibilities with your new love interest.

Three key ingredients for the two of you are Communication, Communication, Communication!

  • Communicate with the medical team to understand his CD4 and viral load counts.
  • Test your own status (HIV and other sexually transmitted infections as this can impact decisions related to safety and protection used) and communicate your status with your partner(s).
  • Communicate your desires in the relationship and use resources to help navigate for the safest possible outcomes.

Thanks for your question Hopeful, I hope I was helpful!

Love & Peace,


[sws_blue_box box_size=”100″] The views and opinions expressed by Mrs. P are solely those of Mrs. Pederson. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of or other contributors to She’s an opinionated old woman, but most of the time, she gets it right (when she takes her meds as prescribed)! [/sws_blue_box]

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