5. Sexual and reproductive health
This Standard looks at how you can have a healthy sex life. It also looks at the issues around contraception, pregnancy, breastfeeding and the menopause.
5a. Sexual health
Having a healthy sex life is important for everybody. It’s important for you and your partners. Testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may be available at your HIV clinic. If not, you should be told where you can access these services. A sexual health assessment should be offered at least annually.
You should be able to access to preventative vaccinesthese are given to someone who is free of the targeted infection. By introducing a part of the virus (or bacterium) or an inactive virus (which acts like a decoy) into the body, the immune system reacts by producing antibodies. If, years later, you are exposed to this virus, these antibodies will recognise and destroy it, preventing infection. There are many preventative vaccines, for example, for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, HPV and many more. There is no preventative vaccine for HIV., hepatitis B, HPV and many more. There is no preventative vaccine for HIV. for hepatitis Athis is caused by the hepatitis A virus. It’s easy to pass on during sex or get from contaminated food and water. Nearly everyone makes a full recovery. A vaccine is available. and hepatitis Bthis is caused by a virus that infects the liver. It’s easy to pass on during sex or by sharing injecting equipment. Most people who get it make a full recovery, but for some, it can be more serious. A vaccine is available., and HPVhuman papilloma virus. These are viruses that cause warts and there are lots of different types. They are also responsible for cervical cancer, anal cancer and some other cancers. The virus that causes HPV infection is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. It can be contracted during unprotected anal, vaginal or, rarely, oral sex. It’s so common that most sexually active people will get some variety of it at some point, even if they have few sexual partners. Many people have HPV and don’t even know it. It’s possible to have multiple types of HPV.
HIV treatment as prevention (TasP) of HIV transmission should be explained to you. This includes information about U=U (undetectable = untransmittable), as well as for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for HIV-negative sexual partners. This is discussed in Standard 1b (Prevention). Although both U=U and PrEP protect against HIV, they do not protect against other STIs, or prevent pregnancy.
If you’re at increased risk of other STIs or viral hepatitisthis is the term used to describe inflammation of the liver. It’s usually the result of a viral infection or liver damage caused by drinking alcohol. There are several different types of viral hepatitis. Some types will pass without any serious problems, while others can be long-lasting (chronic) and cause serious health problems., you should be given advice and support to help manage this risk.