The health consequences of infidelity

One of the safest ways to remain HIV negative is to stay with only one sexual partner and to remain faithful to him or her.
Even if one of you – or both of you – are HIV positive and taking your ARV medication, you will both remain healthy and strong for a long, long time if you are exclusive.

It is inaccurate to think that because you are already HIV positive you cannot be infected by another HIV positive person. There are different strains of HIV as HIV is a highly variable virus which mutates readily. There may be many different strains of HIV in the body of one single infected person.

Becoming re-infected with another strain of HIV might mean that your ARV medication has to be adjusted as the different HIV strains are treated with different medications. If you re-infect your sexual partner, her medicines might have to be adjusted as well. You will both have to go for new tests so that the doctor knows how to adjust or change your medication.
Even if you are in monogamous relationship, you need to use a condom every time you have sex. If you have been unfaithful, it is extra important to remember using a condom.


There are four body fluids that carry significant amounts of HIV to be infectious. They are blood, vaginal fluids, semen and breast milk. If you and your partner want children, your infidelity may put your partner and your unborn child at risk. It is possible for an HIV positive mother to give birth to a HIV negative child, but the doctor will need to know her HIV status to give her proper treatment. If the child is born HIV negative and the mother is infected, she might not be able to breastfeed.

Women are more vulnerable than men when it comes to being infected because semen remains in the uterus for at least 3 days after a single sexual encounter. When you use a condom, your semen does not enter the uterus and your partner is not at risk.
Before you are unfaithful, think of the health risks your infidelity might pose. It might be a better idea to stay at home and work on your relationship. Discuss sex with your partner and suggest new ways of sexually satisfying each other. Whatever you decide to try next, remember your condom!