How safe is it to have sex with my HIV-positive boyfriend?
How safe is it to have sex with my HIV-positive boyfriend?
June 27, 2007
Question (The following Question/Answer is provided by HIV InSite.)
I am HIV negative, I have been tested twice, I am thinking about dating a guy with AIDS who was diagnosed seven years ago and has been doing well physically for 3 years. His T-cell count is 202. How safe is it to open mouth kiss, french kiss, to deeply kiss him? Also how safe is it to have vaginal sexual intercourse? I heard if you use 2 condoms that it is safe. I really like this person a lot but I am scared to death to kiss him or have intercourse with him.
I’m glad you are thinking about these questions now, rather than when you are in his arms and letting your desires determine what risks you take. The key is to take things slowly, communicate with each other at each stage, and be honest with yourselves and each other about your fears and the potential consequences of any risks you take.
The risks of HIV infection depend on more than what you do with each other sexually. For example, more important than his CD4 count is his viral load. A high viral load and any STDs on either of you really increases the risk of transmission because both will increase the population of virus and infectable cells. For this reason, an STD checkup may be in order for both of you. Even if he has a low viral load, this only reflects levels of HIV in his blood. Levels in the genital tract where semen is produced can be much higher, particularly if there is an infection such as an STD, which has been shown to increase production of the virus.
You asked about kissing and intercourse specifically, but there are a lot of safe things along a continuum between these two. Pretty much anything you can do with your hands, or “outercourse,” is a lot safer than penetration by his penis. Another “outercourse” method, for example, is rubbing his penis between your butt cheeks while you lie flat on your stomach. Using some water-based lube really helps. If having his penis inside you is important, then you need to find some good quality condoms that fit him well. He might have a brand that he likes, otherwise go with a Japanese made condom. I’m not sure whether double bagging is safer than just one condom. Two condoms rubbing together might increase friction and cause them to break. Two condoms may also be more likely to slip off due their greater combined bulk than a single, sheer condom.
Oral sex on you is safe, however if you go down on him there is a risk of transmission. To reduce the risk you can either use a condom or be sure to squeeze out and wipe off any precum and avoid getting cum in your mouth. The risk of oral sex, including deep kissing, really depends on the health of your gums and throat. If you have bleeding gums or a sore throat, then I would avoid kissing and oral sex until these have been resolved. One way to reduce the risk of bleeding gums is to use mouthwash instead of brushing and flossing when you are together because brushing and flossing can cause little scrapes and cuts in the gums.
How safe is it to have sex with my HIV-positive boyfriend?
Answered by Nicolas Sheon, HIV InSite Prevention Editor
LivetoKnow.com is designed for educational purposes only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, and/or treament. The information provided throughout our website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. The LivetoKnow.com organization suggests seeking the advice of a healthcare professional for personal questions concerning the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Today is National HIV Testing Day
June 27, 2007
National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is an annual campaign produced by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA-US) to encourage at-risk individuals to receive voluntary HIV counseling and testing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 180,000 to 280,000 people nationwide are HIV-positive but are unaware of their status. HIV counseling and testing enables people with HIV to take steps to protect their own health and that of their partners, and helps people who test negative get the information they need to stay uninfected.
Across the country, thousands of HIV counseling and testing sites, state and local health departments, and community-based HIV/AIDS service providers will participate in NHTD events, by holding health fairs, providing community and media outreach, hosting special testing-related events or operating extended hours. Some of these events may be scheduled in the days and weeks surrounding NHTD.
Get Tested * Know Your Status * Stay Safe
The following links highlight what you need to know about HIV/AIDS:
A Guide to Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Genital Herpes
July 10, 2007
What is genital herpes?
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). Most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2. Most individuals have no or only minimal signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection. When signs do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum. The blisters break, leaving tender ulcers (sores) that may take two to four weeks to heal the first time they occur. Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first outbreak. Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years.
How common is genital herpes?
Results of a nationally representative study show that genital herpes infection is common in theUnited States. Nationwide, at least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or one out of five adolescents and adults, have had genital HSV infection. Between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, the number of Americans with genital herpes infection increased 30 percent. Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of four women) than in men (almost one out of five). This may be due to male-to-female transmissions being more likely than female-to-male transmission.
How do people get genital herpes?
HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be found in and released from the sores that the viruses cause, but they also are released between outbreaks from skin that does not appear to be broken or to have a sore. Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. Transmission can occur from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore and may not know that he or she is infected. HSV-1 can cause genital herpes, but it more commonly causes infections of the mouth and lips, so-called “fever blisters.” HSV-1 infection of the genitals can be caused by oral-genital or genital-genital contact with a person who has HSV-1 infection. Genital HSV-1 outbreaks recur less regularly than genital HSV-2 outbreaks.
What are the signs and symptoms of genital herpes?
Most people infected with HSV-2 are not aware of their infection. However, if signs and symptoms occur during the first outbreak, they can be quite pronounced. The first outbreak usually occurs within two weeks after the virus is transmitted, and the sores typically heal within two to four weeks. Other signs and symptoms during the primary episode may include a second crop of sores, and flu-like symptoms, including fever and swollen glands. However, most individuals with HSV-2 infection may never have sores, or they may have very mild signs that they do not even notice or that they mistake for insect bites or another skin condition. Most people diagnosed with a first episode of genital herpes can expect to have several (typically four or five) outbreaks (symptomatic recurrences) within a year. Over time these recurrences usually decrease in frequency.
What are the complications of genital herpes?
Genital herpes can cause recurrent painful genital sores in many adults, and herpes infection can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems. Regardless of severity of symptoms, genital herpes frequently causes psychological distress in people who know they are infected. In addition, genital HSV can cause potentially fatal infections in babies. It is important that women avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy because a first episode during pregnancy causes a greater risk of transmission to the baby. If a woman has active genital herpes at delivery, a cesarean delivery is usually performed. Fortunately, infection of a baby from a woman with herpes infection is rare. Herpes may play a role in the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Herpes can make people more susceptible to HIV infection, and it can make HIV-infected individuals more infectious.
How is genital herpes diagnosed?
The signs and symptoms associated with HSV-2 can vary greatly. Health care providers can diagnose genital herpes by visual inspection if the outbreak is typical, and by taking a sample from the sore(s) and testing it in a laboratory. HSV infections can be difficult to diagnose between outbreaks. Blood tests, which detect HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection, may be helpful, although the results are not always clear-cut.
Is there a treatment for herpes?
There is no treatment that can cure herpes, but antiviral medications can shorten and prevent outbreaks during the period of time the person takes the medication. In addition, daily suppressive therapy for symptomatic herpes can reduce transmission to partners.
How can herpes be prevented?
The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including genital herpes, is to abstain from sexual contact, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected. Genital ulcer diseases can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered or protected by a latex condom, as well as in areas that are not covered. Correct and consistent use of latex condoms can reduce the risk of genital herpes only when the infected area or site of potential exposure is protected. Since a condom may not cover all infected areas, even correct and consistent use of latex condoms cannot guarantee protection from genital herpes.Persons with herpes should abstain from sexual activity with uninfected partners when lesions or other symptoms of herpes are present. It is important to know that even if a person does not have any symptoms he or she can still infect sex partners. Sex partners of infected persons should be advised that they may become infected. Sex partners can seek testing to determine if they are infected with HSV. A positive HSV-2 blood test most likely indicates a genital herpes infection.
A Guide to Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Trichomoniasis
July 18, 2007
Trichomoniasis is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that affects both women and men, although symptoms are more common in women. Trichomoniasis is the most common curable STD in young, sexually active women. An estimated 7.4 million new cases occur each year in women and men.
How do people get trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis is caused by the single-celled protozoan parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis. The vagina is the most common site of infection in women, and the urethra (urine canal) is the most common site of infection in men. The parasite is sexually transmitted through penis-to-vagina intercourse or vulva-to-vulva (the genital area outside the vagina) contact with an infected partner. Women can acquire the disease from infected men or women, but men usually contract it only from infected women.
What are the signs and symptoms of trichomoniasis?
Most men with trichomoniasis do not have signs or symptoms; however, some men may temporarily have an irritation inside the penis, mild discharge, or slight burning after urination or ejaculation. Some women have signs or symptoms of infection which include a frothy, yellow-green vaginal discharge with a strong odor. The infection also may cause discomfort during intercourse and urination, as well as irritation and itching of the female genital area. In rare cases, lower abdominal pain can occur. Symptoms usually appear in women within 5 to 28 days of exposure.
What are the complications of trichomoniasis?
The genital inflammation caused by trichomoniasis can increase a woman’s susceptibility to HIV infection if she is exposed to the virus. Having trichomoniasis may increase the chance that an HIV-infected woman passes HIV to her sex partner(s).
How does trichomoniasis affect a pregnant woman and her baby?
Pregnant women with trichomoniasis may have babies who are born early or with low birth weight (less than five pounds).
How is trichomoniasis diagnosed?
For both men and women, a health care provider must perform a physical examination and laboratory test to diagnose trichomoniasis. The parasite is harder to detect in men than in women. In women, a pelvic examination can reveal small red ulcerations (sores) on the vaginal wall or cervix.
What is the treatment for trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis can usually be cured with the prescription drug, metronidazole, given by mouth in a single dose. The symptoms of trichomoniasis in infected men may disappear within a few weeks without treatment. However, an infected man, even a man who has never had symptoms or whose symptoms have stopped, can continue to infect or re-infect a female partner until he has been treated. Therefore, both partners should be treated at the same time to eliminate the parasite. Persons being treated for trichomoniasis should avoid sex until they and their sex partners complete treatment and have no symptoms. Metronidazole can be used by pregnant women. Having trichomoniasis once does not protect a person from getting it again. Following successful treatment, people can still be susceptible to re-infection.
How can trichomoniasis be prevented?
The surest way to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases is to abstain from sexual contact, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.
Latex male condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of trichomoniasis.
Any genital symptom such as discharge or burning during urination or an unusual sore or rash should be a signal to stop having sex and to consult a health care provider immediately. A person diagnosed with trichomoniasis (or any other STD) should receive treatment and should notify all recent sex partners so that they can see a health care provider and be treated. This reduces the risk that the sex partners will develop complications from trichomoniasis and reduces the risk that the person with trichomoniasis will become re-infected. Sex should be stopped until the person with trichomoniasis and all of his or her recent partners complete treatment for trichomoniasis and have no symptoms.
Where can I get more information?
CDC’s STD Home Page:
Trichomoniasis – Topic Page
STD Information/Referrals to STD Clinics
Trichomoniasis – CDC Fact Sheet
HIV Prevention and Risks
September 08, 2007
There are many steps you can take to help protect yourself against and prevent HIV and AIDS.
One of the main ways HIV transmission occurs is through vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Therefore, the best way to prevent being infected with the HIV virus is by practicing abstinence. This means to refrain from having sex. Having sex within a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with someone who has tested free of HIV is also considered to be safe.
If you do choose to be sexually active and are not in a committed, mutually monogamous relationship, it is imperative that you use condoms each and every time you have sex. While condoms cannot completely eliminate your risk of being infected with HIV, using them consistently and properly can significantly reduce your risk of infection.
It is possible to contract HIV by using contaminated needles. Most commonly, this refers to needles and syringes used for intravenous drugs. However, it can also include needles used in tattooing and piercing. For intravenous drug users, the best way to prevent being infected with HIV is to quit using drugs. Failing this, though, you can reduce your risk of infection by:
Never sharing or reusing needles for drug injection. Always safely disposing of your needles or taking them to a needle exchange center. If you are getting a tattoo or a piercing, be sure that the facility you go to only uses new, sterile needles. The facility should also dispose of used needles in a safe and sanitary manner.
One method of transmitting HIV is through contact with an infected person’s blood. Since the early 1980’s, all blood services and blood banks in North America have utilized rigorous screening procedures to ensure that all the blood they collect and distribute is free of the HIV virus. However, not all countries have the facilities or resources for this type of screening. If you are planning on donating blood, make sure the needles they use are new and sterile. If you are receiving blood, ask about the screening process of the blood being used in the procedure.
Health care workers are also at risk of being infected with HIV through direct contact with an infected person’s blood. People working in a health care setting should take the following precautions to lower their chances of accidental contact and infection:
Wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water both before and after a procedure. Always use protective barriers (i.e. latex gloves, masks) when you are in direct contact with bodily fluids including blood. If possible, always use new, single-use disposable needles and syringes for all injections. Safely dispose of this injection equipment immediately after use. Promptly disinfect any contaminated equipment that is not disposable after use. If you think you may have come into contact with an infected person’s blood, it is a good idea to go for HIV testing
HIV and Pregnancy
Because it is possible to pass the HIV virus onto your unborn child, it is highly recommended that all pregnant women, regardless of whether they display any HIV symptoms, have an HIV test done during their pregnancy. Pregnant women who are HIV positive should discuss with their health care provider about starting treatment.
Mother-to-child HIV transmission is also possible through breast milk. If you are HIV positive, discuss with your doctor the pros and cons of breastfeeding your child. You may be advised to avoid breastfeeding.
Sex with HIV
In couples where both partners are infected with HIV, there may be a feeling that it is not necessary to use condoms when having sex or to take precautions. You’re both infected with the virus, anyways, right?
Although there is some debate, there is evidence to suggest that it is possible for an individual who is already infected with HIV to be re-infected with a different strain of HIV. This can cause issues with your treatment as you could be infected with an HIV strain that is resistant to certain medications. Aside from the possible risk of re-infection, there is also an increased risk of being infected with some other type of infection, most likely another sexually transmitted disease. This includes herpes, HPV, and Hepatitis B and C. Even if you and your partner are both HIV positive, it is still important to use condoms consistently and properly every time you have sex.
Source: Epigee Women’s Health,
Parental Communication Can Delay Sexually Activity for Teens
March 19, 2007
Who is to blame for the excessive spread of sexually transmitted diseases? Society wants to place responsibility on sex on television, music especially rap, parental negligence, etc. Maybe the culpability lies with looking at oneself instead of outside forces. Where is the temperance and/or the self control? My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)
Our source states that parents have the power to positively influence teens to delay sexual activity. It’s a fact, adolescents are having sex. The 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey stated that six of ten adolescent women and seven of ten adolescent men have had sexual intercourse by their 18th birthday. Unsafe sex can lead to a lifetime of serious consequences. In theUnited States, nearly one million teenage girls become pregnant and roughly 4 million new sexually transmitted disease infections are diagnosed each year.
Children who have internalized parental values are less likely to adopt the negative behaviors of their peers. The article suggests parents approach teens in an open and understanding way by answering questions with reason and explanation. Parental responsiveness (open, skilled, and comfortable) to sex discussions increased adolescent condom use and communication with sex partners. The article stressed the importance of mothers stating “it is likely that adolescents who perceive that they have an established open and comfortable rapport with their mothers regarding sex topics will be more likely to discuss questions and concerns with their mothers as their peer group becomes more sexually active”.
Focusing on teens that are not yet sexually active allows an opportunity for prevention and education before sexual intercourse takes place. The key to successful risk prevention for adolescents is to be proactive instead of reactive. Teens are bombarded with conflicting sexual messages. Parents can make a significant difference in the delay of sexual activity for adolescents. If the topic intimidates you, collaborate with your health care professional to provide your teenager with the knowledge to make educated sexual decisions and avoid negative sexual consequences.
Fasula, Amy M & Miller, Kim S. (2006). African-American and Hispanic adolescents’ intentions to delay first intercourse: parental communication as a buffer for sexually active peers. Journal of Adolescent Health (38), 193-200.
Bush Administration says, No sex without marriage
The federal government has expanded its abstinence message to young unmarried adults up to the age of 29. One reason for the adjustment is the fact that more unmarried women between the ages of 19 and 29 are having children. According toUSAToday:
Government data released last month show that 998,262 births in 2004 were to unmarried women 19-29, the ages with the most births to unmarried women.
Of course the numbers are assuming if more women are having children out-of-wedlock, then safe sex techniques are not being used properly, or are not being used at all. Check out the full article in USA Today.
Abstinence-Only programs, Are they effective?
What is abstinence? Abstinence: 1. voluntary forbearance especially from sexual intercourse; 2. the act or practice of refraining from indulgence in an appetite, as for certain foods, drink, alcoholic beverages, drugs, or sex. Abstinence is to refrain from all types of sexual activity including vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, outercourse (dry sex or grinding), mutual masturbation, etc. Even though, some of the previous types of sex cannot result in pregnancy, transmission of disease is still possible.
In life, we make thousands of decisions. The result of each decision turns into a positive or negative consequence. The game of sex is risky and can turn deadly. I understand the promotion of abstinence-only programs. Abstinence is the only 100% effective method to prevent unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. However, REALITY must play a strong role in how sex education is delivered to young adults. When the facts are presented, it is extremely hard to deny the truth.
Abstinence-only programs have their supporters including George W. Bush and many in our Congress. Studies have shown that teens who abstain from sex in high school are twice as likely to go to college. In one particular study among teens age 15 to 19, increased abstinence led to a 67% drop in the pregnancy rate and a 51% drop in babies born to single teens in that age range. Others support safe sex and contraception programs for youth. There are facts and figures that support both sides.
Most studies show that abstinence-only programs are not sufficient to stop the spread of disease and unwanted pregnancy among adolescents. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, every day 8,000 teenagers in theUnited Statesbecome infected with a sexually transmitted disease. This year, 3 million teens will become infected. Sexually active teens are more likely to become depressed than peers who are not sexually active. A review of programs in eleven states indicated that teens were less likely to use contraception and only one program delayed the initiation of sex. Virginity pledges are included in many abstinence programs. According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, 88% of those who took the pledge still had sex before marriage and the rate of STDs were the same as nonpledgers. A recent Congressional report found that eighty percent of abstinence-only curricula contained false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention believe the most effective programs are comprehensive which include a focus on delaying sexual behavior and provide information on how sexually active young people can protect themselves.
You have a choice. Abstinence is 100% effective in safeguarding against sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancy. Make the educated decision and stay safe!
Negotiating Safe Sex
Negotiating safe sex is a process in which two or more people with different needs interact in order to reach an agreement around sex that both people are comfortable with. This, however, can be a very tricky thing to do. Especially if one person wants to use a condom while the other person insists on not using one. So what do you do? Here are guidelines from http://www.stayinformedsonoma.net which are intended to encourage you to think through the process of negotiating safe sex and only do what you are comfortable with.
Think Through The Process Before Meeting
Stay informed about safer sex. Safer sex isn’t always about wearing a condom. Sometimes it can be as simple as getting regular STD tests or getting vaccinated for Hepatitis A & B. Choose things that you’re comfortable adopting. Keep these in mind the next time you meet up for sex.
Know your boundaries. Decide what level of risk you are willing to take. Have an idea of what you’re willing and not willing to do sexually before you meet up for sex. This will help you stay in control and out of harm’s way.
Keep your head in a good place. If you’re too high or drunk to make good decisions, your risk of doing things you might not do otherwise is greatly increased.
Plan ahead. Know your boundaries and safer sex guidelines. Hell, it wouldn’t hurt to carry a few condoms and lube with you, even if the possibility of sex seems remote.
What if your sex partner also has HIV? Although re-infection with a drug-resistant or more aggressive disease-causing strain of HIV is still being debated, it is something to be considered when negotiating safer sex between two HIV-positive sex partners.
Negotiate What You’re Comfortable With Once You Meet
Ask a few key questions. If you’re nervous about having a conversation about sex, ask a few key questions that can help you make a better decision about what you’re willing to do sexually. Questions like: “What’s your HIV status?” “Have you been tested for STD’s lately?” or “What are you into?” can give you just enough information to help you make decisions about what to do and what not to do sexually.
Have a conversation during a low-key moment. Waiting until you’re in the sack and getting hot may not be the best time to negotiate sex. You’re already doing it! Find a time earlier in the evening before you enter the bedroom to have the conversation.
Communicate using positive language. Negotiating sex can be difficult as it is. When someone gets defensive it can be even more difficult. Respect your partner’s decision, whatever it is. And request that they respect yours.
Be clear about what you want. If you just want lots of kissing, caressing, and touching, then make it clear to them up front. You have the right to determine what you’re willing to do sexually and have that respected by a partner. If they don’t agree, say good-bye.
Follow through. Once the clothes are off and things start getting hot, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. Never assume your partner will follow-through on the agreement. You are always responsible for your own safety.
Be assertive. Sometimes a sex partner may try to convince you to do something you’re not comfortable doing. Be assertive but respectful in your response. If you’re not comfortable doing it, then don’t. Offer another sexual delicacy that you’re both comfortable with. If they still insist, get up and leave.
Thank your partner. If they are willing to have a conversation about sex, thank them! If they followed through on what you both discussed, marry them! Negotiating sex can be difficult. If you both worked together to make it happen, then you both deserve a standing ovation.
Pronto Condoms, The best way to get it on
Can you believe someone finally made an improvement on the condom that is actually functional? A South African company has created the Pronto Condom! It’s like all the other condoms, except it’s easy to open and apply. There aren’t too many places to purchase these yet, outside of South Africa; but you can order from the website.
The New Year is upon us and so many people are making resolutions concerning losing weight or stopping those bad habits that make life less pleasurable. Well my challenge to you is to make sexual health a top priority for 2007 and beyond. Just like losing weight, sexual health is not something you can focus on for a few weeks or months to make significant changes. The most positive results require a consistent and committed lifestyle change. To be able to make informed decisions, one must understand how sexual health is defined.
From 1975 to 2002, several health organizations and medical administrators have defined sexual health. Sexual health is not just using condoms or birth control; it comprises elements of love, intimacy, respect, values, etc. Sex is more than the physical act. Check out the following definitions of sexual health:
1. Sexual health is the integration of the somatic, emotional, intellectual and social aspects of sexual being, in ways that are positively enriching and that enhance personality, communication and love.
WHO Technical Reports Series (1975)
2. Sexual health encompasses sexual development and reproductive health, as well as such characteristics as the ability to develop and maintain meaningful interpersonal relationships; appreciate one’s own body; interact with both genders in respectful ways; and express affection, love and intimacy in ways consistent
with one’s own values.
3. Sexual health is the ability of women and men to enjoy and express their sexuality and to do so free from risk of sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy, coercion, violence and discrimination. In order to be sexually healthy, one must be able to have informed, enjoyable and safe sex, based on self-esteem, a positive approach to human sexuality, and mutual respect in sexual relations. Sexually health experiences enhance life quality and pleasure, personal relationships and communication, and the expression of one’s identity.
4. Sexual health is the experience of the ongoing process of physical, psychological and social-cultural well-being related to sexuality. Sexual health is evidenced in the free and responsible expressions of sexual capabilities that foster harmonious personal and social wellness, enriching individual and social life. It is not merely the absence of dysfunction, disease and/or infirmity. For sexual health to be attained and maintained it is necessary that the sexual rights of all people to be recognized and upheld.
Pan American Health Organization, World Association of Sexology (2001)
5. Sexual health is inextricably bound to both physical and mental health. Just as physical and mental health problems can contribute to sexual dysfunction and diseases, those dysfunctions and diseases can contribute to physical and mental health problems. Sexual health is not limited to the absence of disease or dysfunction, nor is its importance confined to just the reproductive years. It includes the ability to understand and weigh the risks, responsibilities, outcomes and impacts of sexual actions and to practice abstinence when appropriate. It includes freedom form sexual abuse and discrimination and the ability to integrate their sexuality into their lives, derive pleasure from it, and to reproduce if they so choose.
Satcher, Surgeon General’s Report (2001)
6. Sexual health is an important part of physical and mental health. It is a key part of our identity as human beings together with the fundamental human rights to privacy, a family life, and living free from discrimination. Essential elements of good sexual health are equitable relationships and sexual fulfillment with access to information and services to avoid the risk of unintended pregnancy, illness or disease.
The National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV (2001)
7. Sexual health is defined as an approach to sexuality founded in accurate knowledge, personal awareness, and self-acceptance, where one’s behavior, values, and emotions are congruent and integrated within a person’s wider personality structure and self-definition. Sexual health involves an ability to be intimate with a partner, to communicate explicitly about sexual needs and desires, to be sexually functional (to have desire, become aroused, and obtain sexual fulfillment), to act intentionally and responsibly, and to set appropriate sexual boundaries. Sexual health has a communal aspect, reflecting not only self-acceptance and respect, but also respect and appreciation for individual differences and diversity, and a feeling of belonging to and involvement in one’s own sexual culture(s). Sexual health includes a sense of self-esteem, personal attractiveness and competence, as well as freedom from sexual dysfunction, sexually transmitted diseases, and sexual assault/coercion. Sexual health affirms sexuality as a positive force, enhancing other dimensions of one’s life.
Robinson et al. (2002)
8. Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination, and violence. For sexual health to be obtained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected, and fulfilled.
World Health Organization (2002)
Source: Defining Sexual Health: A Descriptive Overview by Weston M. Edwards and Eli Coleman from the Archives of Sexual Behavior, Volume 33, Number 3, June 2004, pp. 189-195.