Life and Love with HIV is a blog and online community dedicated to de-stigmatizing sexuality and relationships among women, partners, and couples living with HIV by shifting the focus from risk to pleasure.
Come for the blog, stay for the conversation.
Tag #lifeandlovewithhiv so we can find and feature your stories.
2015—the year we had a revolutionary idea.
The initial idea for creating Life and Love with HIV came about in the fall of 2015.
A group of us (some women living with HIV, some researchers) were working together on a Canadian study about the sexual health and rights of women living with HIV. Over the years, we talked a lot about sex and love and how these areas of life were absent from most conversations about sexual health. So we decided to study it!
But we knew we wanted to do more than just study it. And so, we looked at what online resources existed to support women. Turns out, not a lot. We did, however, find all kinds of sexuality resources for women with other health conditions. Frankly, this didn’t surprise us. Women’s pleasure is already taboo. Navigating pleasure with HIV, in our societies, can feel almost impossible!
That's when we began mobilizing around our sexual wants and desires.
A new era of HIV.
Just as our idea for the site began to take shape, medical advances ushered in a new era of HIV.
Research shows that people with HIV who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load can live just as long as those without the disease. They also have effectively NO risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.
This ground-breaking science inspired both a hashtag (#UequalsU, which means Undetectable = Untransmittable) and a movement to end HIV and HIV-related stigma, led by the Prevention Access Campaign and thousands of activists and community organizers around the globe.
With this amazing medical progress, and encouraged by the many grassroots campaigns that came before us, we thought, now more than ever, we have an opportunity to change the usual narrative about sexual health in the context of HIV.
Tired of discourses that focus only on risk and transmission? (We are.)
We believe there is nowhere near enough research and support on HIV and sexuality beyond risk and transmission.
In our study, 52% of women living with HIV say sex is an important part of their life. Yet 79% of women are not completely satisfied with their sexual lives and one in five report seldom to any pleasure during sex.
The relationship context, mental health, and oppressive social conditions—for example, violence, sexism, and the stigmatization and criminalization of HIV—play an important role in outcomes.
These findings are largely consistent across decades and countries, which led us to the following conclusion: When women are not able to fully and pleasurably experience their sexuality, on their own terms, it's not because they're sexually dysfunctional—it's because they live in a dysfunctional world.
Creating a supportive social environment for love to flourish.
We believe we can change the world through digital storytelling. Hence, the creation of this website.
Life and Love with HIV is a space for women, partners, and couples living with HIV everywhere to share their experiences of love, romance, and sexuality. In creating our own stories, in our own voices, with our own words, our goal is to reclaim our sexual rights around the world.
But Beyoncé wasn’t built in a day! Turning this idea into action happened over the course of three years. We hosted several sex-positive workshops with women. We also scoured the web, collecting what little resources we could find. And we started community building, eventually recruiting a diverse team of writers from around the world with the help of social media.
What began as a small grassroots, volunteer-run effort in British Columbia, Canada, slowly transformed into the global platform it is today.
2018—the year we launched.
The site was launched 23-27 July 2018 at the 22nd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2018) in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Exciting things are coming, and we hope you’ll join us on this journey to promote a more just and sex-positive world for all people living with HIV!