Max is HIV-positive, Alex is not. They started dating two years ago, just after Max knew he was living with HIV.
The two participated in a large study on the portability of the virus, which showed that a person with HIV who had undergone effective treatment could not pass the virus through sex.
The couple shares their story with BBC Radio 5 in the hope that it will inspire more people to try out and eliminate some stigmas that still exist.
The story of Max
"I was 24 years old when I discovered I was HIV positive. FWhat a blow, a stomach strokeWhen they told me, I started crying. I did not know what to do. Should I go back to work or relax in my life? Should I tell anyone? How do I find a boyfriend now?
The nurse at the clinic where they gave me the results hugged me and said, "Do not worry, everything will be fine."
Since I did the test regularly, I discovered it at a very early stage, and that was good news because the earlier the treatment started, the better.
HIV-medications work from reducing the amount of virus in the blood of undetectable levels. This means that the virus can not be transmitted through sexual contact, even without a condom.
Taking the necessary medication is something quite easy:only I need one pill a day during dinnerPatients with type 1 diabetes need four or five injections per day.
Being HIV positive is worth me more physically than physically: the anxiety I feel when I have to tell other people about my illness.
My diagnosis was told to my closest friends and families. Most of them responded wonderfully, but not all supported me.
A friend, a sort of mentor, said to me, "Honestly, I will not seek or have sex with someone with HIVI would always stay with the question of whether to take their medication. "
I felt that I labeled people with HIV as "unwise" and myself "responsible" to avoid contact with people like me.
This vision arises in the 1980s when HIV is being considered personal failure or death sentencePeople still associate HIV with these tombstone images on television or with Princess Diana embracing people in AIDS at the hospital.
Many of them refuse to touch people with HIV and much more to have intimate contact. But today, those of us who live with HIV can expect to live as much as any other person.
The reaction of my mentor really touched me. I started to suffer from panicI've never experienced them before, but I could not breathe. I could not even go out.
I met Alex soon after learning that he was living with HIV. We both were scientists and we were interested in gender issues and sexuality so that bonds were born. He already knew I was HIV-positive, so it was not something I had to mention.
I'm not sure at what point we stop using condoms when you keep in touch sex. I did not see him in pain, but I was worried that he would feel pressured not to use condoms to make me feel better.
Last year we took part in the survey partner, which to a great extent demonstrates this people with HIV can have sex without preservative and do not transmit virus if they take the right treatment.
I think if more people know this, there will be far less fear or stigma for HIV and no one will be worried about being tested. "
How HIV treatment works
- HIV is treated with antiretroviral drugs that stop replication of the virus.
- The amount of blood virus is measured to see how well the treatment works.
- It may take up to six months for this viral load to become undetectable.
- People with HIV who receive effective HIV treatment and whose viral load has not been detected for six months or longer can not transmit the virus through sex.
- NSS, UK public healthcare, says condom is the most effective way to protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
The story of Alex
"The first impression I had on Max was that he was very sure of himself,
I met him at a political conference of the Green Party of the United Kingdom. I was with a group of young homosexuals-we were probably quite embarrassing as a colleague-and even he came and said, "Hi."
I found this I was HIV positive days after I met himwhen he posted Facebook status with a photo of his medication.
One of the reasons I was attracted to him was that he was so open when he was discussing HIV. I have always admired his confidence and his refusal to undergo social pressure.
I also liked the fact that, even when dealing with the influence of his diagnosis, he devotes some of his time and emotional energy to trying to help others.
We met a few months after this conference and everything started there.
no I was afraid outsidepositivenot at all. On the contrary, I felt sad because I knew that after diagnosis I had some rejection from other people.
In the case of sex without condoms, I did not even worry about being infected with HIV, because I knew my boyfriend was taking his medication.
I believe him completely. Some people say people with the virus can not take their medication, but that's just a prejudice. If you live with HIV, Your health depends on taking this pill dailyThis is not something you forget.
I have not told my whole family that Max is HIV-positive, I do not think it is so important.
I told my parents before I took him home for dinner but only because he took his dinner pill and did not want to get out of the table to do it.
Pity that it was not revealed better than HIV may not be transmitted, Too many people suffer from stigma around the disease without cause.
People's scientific opinions on HIV are anchored in the past. We must provoke change. "