Books, Links, and More


In this section, you’ll find a collection of resources on topics related to sexuality and relationships, both in the context of HIV and more generally. Please note this list is not meant to be prescriptive or exhaustive. Feel free to peruse and find what works for you.

Have a resource to add to any collection? Email us at info [at] lifeandlovewithhiv [dot] ca.


*These books have characters who are living with HIV.

By Pearl Cleage

Since the day Emerson Pressman and her mother were diagnosed as HIV positive, nothing has been the same. When her mother dies of AIDS, Emmy has to go live with the father and stepmother she barely knows, and she feels more alone than ever. Now she has to take pills by herself, and there is no one left who understands what it's like to be afraid every time she has a cold. But when her father decides to send her to Camp Positive, a camp for HIV-positive children, Emmy begins to realize that she's not alone after all, and that sometimes, opening up to other people can make all the difference in the world.

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day.
By Pearl Cleage

After a decade of luxe living in Atlanta, Ava Johnson has returned to tiny Idlewild, Michigan -- her fabulous career and power plans smashed to bits on one dark truth: Ava has tested positive for HIV. Bur rather than a sorrowful end, her homecoming is a new beginning. Because, in the ten-plus years since she left, all the problems of the big city have invaded the sleepy community of her childhood. Because dear friends and family sorely need her help in the face of impending trouble and tragedy, and Ava cannot turn her back on them. And because, most importantly, Ava Johnson is inexplicabley and undeniably falling in love.

Hot Mess.
By Anne Conley

Sam is a single dad trying to get over the death of his ex-wife, and help his daughter move on from the loss of her mother. Rachel is a single mom with a secret of her own that has kept her out of the dating scene for years.

Worth the Risk.
By Stacey Deanne

Houston music critic Alvin Zak becomes smitten with violinist Madeline Deever from the first moment she lays her bow to her violin to perform a concerto. But the last thing Madeline is looking for is love since she is harboring a secret.


*These memoirs are written by women living with HIV.

I Have Something To Tell You.
By Regan Hofmann

For ten years, Regan Hofmann lived a double life. To the world, she was a woman from Princeton who went to prep school, summered in the Hamptons and rode Thoroughbred horses. She had a great job, a loving family and friends and looks that made men turn their heads. From the outside, she seemed to have it all. On the inside, though, coursing through her veins and weighing heavily on her mind, was the truth: that she was HIV-positive. I Have Something to Tell You is an inspiring account of a life driven by a sense of purpose and a search for love in the face of the unthinkable. More than anything, it is a story that reminds us that while life can change in an instant, we each hold the power to decide how we use the time we have. With humor, vitality, and an unquenchable passion, Regan shows us a life fully lived.

Umzala: A Woman's Story of Living with HIV.
By Elaine Maane

This is a hearty tribute to the challenges of living positively with HIV told with tears and laughter. From her Zambian roots, Elaine's story reflects on her life journey as a young mother, who discovers she is living with HIV and then loses her husband. Her journey has taken her through valleys and hills, yet she will touch you with her refreshing insights as she shares her lessons as a single parent, as a lover and as a woman constantly rocked by the loss of loved ones. "Umzala" inspires us to rise above seemingly impossible odds and to make our mark. Elaine encourages us to heal, to love and be loved, and to live life fully to the best of our ability. Together with her, we discover that HIV should not be a barrier to reaching our dreams.

The Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive.
By Marvelyn Brown

At nineteen years of age, Marvelyn Brown was lying in a stark white hospital bed at Tennessee Christian Medical Center, feeling hopeless. A former top track and basketball athlete, she was in the best shape of her life, but she was battling a sudden illness in the intensive care unit. Doctors had no idea what was going on. It never occurred to Brown that she might be HIV positive. Having unprotected sex with her Prince Charming had set into swift motion a set of circumstances that not only landed her in the fight of her life, but also alienated her from her community. Rather than give up, however, Brown found a reason to fight and a reason to live. The Naked Truth is an inspirational memoir that shares how an everyday teen refused to give up on herself, even as others would forsake her. More, it's a cautionary tale that every parent, guidance counselor, and young adult should read.

Surviving HIV: Growing Up a Secret and Being Positive.
By Jamie E Gentille

This is the true story of Jamie Gentille, a girl in her 30s who defies the odds by living a healthy and productive life after contracting HIV during a blood transfusion at age 3 during open heart surgery. This book follows Jamie’s life as a child, to whom the medical world was a second home, through adolescence and adulthood. Along the way she encounters pain, joy, adversity, despair, ignorance, and above all, hope. Her journey takes the reader through a time when HIV and AIDS was a highly stigmatized terminal disease, to groundbreaking hope in the form of medical advances, to an age of full life expectancy and near normalcy. The book’s style is a playful balance between dry, self-deprecating humor, and raw emotion. Interwoven throughout Surviving HIV is a theme of stark reality, and enduring optimism that can offer the reader a new perspective on their own lives.

Positive: A Memoir.
By Paige Rawl

Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth, but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. On an unremarkable day in middle school, she disclosed to a friend her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. From that moment forward, every day was like walking through a minefield. Paige was never sure when or from where the next text, taunt, or hateful message would come. Then one night, desperate for escape, fifteen-year-old Paige found herself in her bathroom staring at a bottle of sleeping pills. That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning. Paige's memoir calls for readers to choose action over complacency, compassion over cruelty—and above all, to be Positive.

Sex, Love & Relationships

Positively Women: Living with AIDS.
By Sue O'Sullivan, Kate Thomson

Published in 1996: Of the 16,000,000 people in the world currently infected with the AIDS virus, 40 per cent are women. In this book, women with HIV speak out and tell their own stories of how they coped with the news that they were HIV positive.

Positively Negative: Love, Pregnancy, and Science's Surprising Victory Over HIV.
By Heather Boerner

Welcome to the new era of HIV. Decades after HIV ravaged a generation, we are in an age of long lives, seemingly functional cures, and a realistic hope for an AIDS-free generation. It’s an era that brings us 10-month-old Pom-Pom Morgan—a miracle of modern science, born to parents who had sex without a condom and didn’t pass on the virus, even though the father has HIV.

Women, Sexuality, and the Political Power of Pleasure.
By Susie Jolly, Andrea Cornwall, Kate Hawkins

A collection of essays exploring how pleasure can have a hugely positive impact for women at the personal, social, and political levels. Chapter 7, written by HIV activist Alice Welbourn, considers sexual pleasure in the context of HIV.

Come as you are. The surprising new science that will transform your sex life.
By Emily Nagoski

An essential exploration of why and how women’s sexuality works—based on groundbreaking research and brain science—that will radically transform your sex life into one filled with confidence and joy.

Our Bodies, Ourselves.
By Boston Women's Health Book Collective

A comprehensive guide to all aspects of women’s health and sexuality, including menopause, birth control, childbirth, sexual health, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health and general well-being.

The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality.
By Rachel Hills

Equal parts social commentary, pop culture, and powerful personal anecdotes from people across the English-speaking world, The Sex Myth exposes the invisible norms and unspoken assumptions that shape the way we think about sex today.

Ecstasy is Necessary: A Practical Guide.
By Barbara Carrellas

This is not your average tips-and-techniques sex book; rather it is an exploratory journey of the sexual self and the infinite possibilities of ecstatic expression.

S.E.X., second edition: The All-You-Need-To-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens and Twenties.
By Heather Corinna

The second edition of the go-to sex ed guide for teens and young adults, from the founder of

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain, and Illness.
By Miriam Kaufman, Cory Silverberg and Fran Odette

A sex guide for people who live with disabilities, pain, illness, or chronic conditions.

Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving.
By Betty Dodson

For more than 20 years, Betty Dodson has been dedicated to taking the shame out of masturbation, showing it to be a healthy form of sexual expression.

The BIG Book of Masturbation.
By Martha Cornog

Presenting masturbation from a variety of perspectives and disciplines throughout history, Martha Cornog offers a thoughtful and intelligent look at the realities and controversies that surround this universal activity.

Wanting Sex Again: How to Rediscover Your Desire and Heal a Sexless Marriage.
By Laurie Watson

If you feel like sex just isn’t worth the effort, you’re not alone. Drawing on twenty years of clinical experience, Laurie Watson shows that it really is possible to restore the thrill of sex, using proven psychological methods and personal accounts from actual therapy sessions.

The Multi-Orgasmic Couple: Sexual Secrets Every Couple Should Know.
By Mantak Chia, Douglas Abrams, and Rachel Carlton Abrams

The Multi-Orgasmic Couple combines ancient Eastern wisdom with Western knowledge to help sexual partners achieve new levels of sensual pleasure and intimacy. Other volumes include The Multi-Orgasmic Man and The Multi-Orgasmic Woman.

Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic.
By Esther Perel

Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a couples therapist, Perel examines the complexities of sustaining desire. Through case studies and lively discussion, Perel demonstrates how more exciting, playful, and even poetic sex is possible in long-term relationships.

Getting Naked Again: Dating, Romance, Sex, and Love When You've Been Divorced, Widowed, Dumped, or Distracted.
By Judith Sills

You are divorced, you're widowed, or maybe you've just been busy with other things. Lately though you might be ready (are you?) to meet (but where, and how?) another romantic partner. This book offers a frank, funny, and unusually savvy look at midlife dating.

Sex From Scratch: Making Your Own Relationship Rules.
By Sarah Mirk

A love and dating guidebook that gleans real-life knowledge from smart people in a variety of nontraditional relationships, from the steadfastly single to people making open relationships work, from people who've decided they're never going to have kids to parents who are consciously producing the next generation.

Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships.
By Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert

Drawing on in-depth interviews with over a hundred women and men, this book explores the real-life benefits and challenges of all styles of open relationships--from partnered nonmonogamy to solo polyamory.

More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory.
By Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert

This resource explores the often-complex world of living polyamorously: the nuances (no, this isn't swinging), the relationship options (do you suit a V, an N, an open network?), the myths (don't count on wild orgies and endless sex but don't rule them out either!) and the expectations (communication, transparency and trust are paramount).

Trauma & Sexual Healing

The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse.
By Wendy Maltz

A comprehensive guide helping survivors of sexual abuse heal from the past, improve relationships, and discover the joys of sexual intimacy.

Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma.
By Staci Haines

A sex-positive guide for all women survivors of sexual assault - heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, coupled, and single - who want to reclaim their sex lives.


Queer Sex: A Trans and Non-Binary Guide to Intimacy, Pleasure and Relationships.
By Juno Roche

Frankly discussing desire, sex and how trans people relate to their bodies and relationships, this collection of intimate interviews with leading figures from the trans and non-binary community is a call to arms for how society views gender and sexuality.

The Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality.
By Julie Sondra Decker

A growing number of people are identifying as asexual. They aren’t sexually attracted to anyone, and they consider it a sexual orientation—like gay, straight, or bisexual.

The Whole Lesbian Sex Book.
By Felice Newman

The first-ever sex guide to offer information and encouragement for all women who desire women — lesbian, bisexual, butch, femme, androgynous, and transgender.

Lesbian Sex Bible: The New Guide to Sexual Love for Same-Sex Couples
By Diana Cage

The Lesbian Sex Bible is a fresh, funny, irreverent, and inclusive look at lesbian sexuality. This book encourages women to talk freely about sex, to deepen and expand their sexual knowledge, and it empowers women of all sexual identities to have the hottest sex possible.

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community.
By Laura Erickson-Schroth

A comprehensive, reader-friendly guide for transgender people, with each chapter written by transgender or genderqueer authors, and covering an important transgender issue, such as race, religion, employment, medical and surgical transition, mental health topics, relationships, sexuality, parenthood, arts and culture, and many more.

Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary.
By Morty Diamond

A raw and honest depiction of dating, sex, love, and relationships among members of the gender variant community. From monogamous love and marriage to anonymous sex and one-night hook-ups (and everything in between), these stories offer readers insight into the emotional and practical mechanics of intimacy among gender-variant experiences.


The Ultimate Guide to Kink.
By Tristan Taormino

The first major guide to BDSM in a generation—a bold and sexy collection of essays that run the gamut from expert how-to tutorials to provocative essays that delve into complex questions about desire, power, and pleasure.

Playing Well with Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring and Navigating the Kink, Leather and Bdsm Communities.
By Lee Harrington and Mollena Williams

A guidebook for anyone who wants to explore or understand the community aspect of the kink lifestyle: the munches, parties, leather bars, conferences, workshops, fetish nights, exploratoriums and more.


My Journey.
By Positive Women Victoria

Written by and for women living with HIV, this kit shares wisdom about the experience of living with HIV and offers advice to those recently diagnosed. It is divided into five themes: diagnosis, disclosure and discrimination, new relationships, taking care of ourselves and the future. Also included are affirmation cards and tips for the journey.

Opposites Attract: A Guide for Magnetic Relationships.
By HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health (ARCH)

A guide for HIV-negative people who have just found out that their partner or potential partner is HIV+ (positive), covering HIV basics, sex and sexuality, and communication.

Living well. Women with HIV
By Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations and National Association of People with HIV Australia

This booklet contains information about some key issues for women living with HIV, including things to consider when telling someone you have HIV (chapter 2) and your right to your own sexuality (chapter 3).

Sexuality and Relationships.
By Native Youth Sexual Health Network

This toolkit has information about healthy relationships, sexual assault, body image, sexuality and traditional views on sexual health, written by and for Indigenous communities.

Healthy Happy and Hot
By International Planned Parenthood Association, UK, 2012

A resource on sex and relationships for young women living with HIV.

Women Lovin’: A queer women’s sexual health guide.
By Positive Women’s Network BC Canada

A pocket guide on sex and HIV prevention for queer women.

Brazen 2.0: Trans Women's Safer Sex Guide.
By CATIE and The519

Brazen 2.0 provides sexual health information for trans women and their partners. It covers disclosure, negotiation and consent, sex work, safer sex, transition-related surgeries, advances in HIV prevention and treatment, the realities of online dating and internet culture, and more.

HIV disclosure: Figuring out how to tell sexual and romantic partners.
By Positive Women’s Network BC Canada

This booklet is intended to support women living with HiV who are thinking about whether they want to tell their romantic or sexual partners about their HIV-positive status.

HIV disclosure: A guide for youth.
By Positive Women’s Network BC Canada

This booklet is designed to help youth living with HIV who are thinking about whether they want to tell family members, friends, and romantic or sexual partners about their HIV-positive status.

HIV disclosure and the law (in Canada): What you need to know.
By Positive Women’s Network BC Canada

Having proof that you disclosed your HIV+ status to sexual partners before having sex can help protect you from prosecution. Here are some possible strategies.

Portraits Against Stigma.
By Oak Tree Clinic

Women share their stories and break down the stigma of living with HIV.

Links to other resources
  • Prevention Access Campaign. A global movement promoting the science of Undetectable = Untransmittable, a revolutionary but largely unknown fact that people living with HIV on effective treatment do not sexually transmit HIV.
  • HIV Justice Network. A global information and advocacy hub for individuals and organizations working to end the inappropriate use of the criminal law to regulate and punish people living with HIV.
  • Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. Promotes the human rights of people living with, at risk of or affected by HIV, in Canada and internationally, through research and analysis, litigation and other advocacy, public education and community mobilization.
  • The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource. A comprehensive website featuring articles, personal stories, and expert advice on treatment, prevention, and living with HIV.
  • NAM. A UK-based resource with information on HIV basics, such as diagnosis, treatment, and transmission, as well as topics related to healthy living with the virus (e.g., nutrition, emotional health, etc).
  • CATIE. Canada's source for HIV and hepatitis C information.
  • ICW. A global source of information on women and HIV issues, with an extensive searchable library.
  • GNP+. Offers a global resource section with several country-specific reports on positive health, dignity, and prevention.
  • Salamander Trust. Features a resource page with materials related to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Arrow. Asia-Pacific resource centre on HIV and sexual and reproductive health.
  • Native Youth Sexual Health Network. Has several Indigenous sexual and reproductive health resources.
  • HIVE. Resources for you and providers on preconception and prenatal care.
  • Global SHARE Google Group. Translating science on safer conception into action. Join to share ideas, best practices, & questions.
  • HIV/AIDS Tribe Members. Online peer-to-peer support group for individuals living with HIV.
  • ViVA women. An online listserv where women living with HIV can mutually inspire and empower each other.
Links to other blogs and magazines
  • The Underground Women. By Asha Molock on standing up to HIV stigma.
  • Speaking Up. The diary of an HIV+ activist, by Silvia Petretti.
  • Jessica Whitbread. Featuring queer art and activism projects on bodies, sexuality, and desire in the context of HIV.
  • Dianne Nyoni. A positive speaker who uses her storytelling to empower other women and combat stigma.
  • HIV Negative Spouses. A blog for HIV negative women that have HIV positive spouses and would like support.
  • A Girl Like Me. A blog of The Well Project where women share experiences and promote understanding of HIV issues.
  • Una Chica Como Yo. A Spanish-language version of The Well Project's blog, A Girl Like Me.
  • #PWNCares. A multimedia series connecting women with HIV and addressing their biggest challenges.
  • HIVE Blog. A global blog on safer conception and reproductive health and rights.
  • Positive Lite. Canada's Online HIV Magazine, featuring news, interviews, advice, and tips for living with HIV.
  • A&U. America's HIV Magazine, publishing art, activism, and current events emanating from the HIV pandemic.
  • Poz. Offering daily news, treatment updates, personal profiles, investigative features, videos, and blogs on HIV.
  • HIV Equal. Presenting news and features about HIV, PrEP, and sexual health.
Links to YouTube channels
  • Pozitively Dee, on life, family, and her journey since being diagnosed with HIV in 1997.
  • Malina Fisher, showing her perspective and personal experience as a young woman living with HIV.
  • Lexi Gibson, a woman born with HIV educating people about the virus and offering support and guidance.
  • Jennifer Vaughan, sharing her story of how she survived AIDS and how she lives her life (very normally) with HIV.
  • Maria Mejia, a proud latina and Colombian, fighting for LGBTQA / HIV rights internationally. Videos in English and Spanish.
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