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I've been married to my husband for 9 years. I read that everyone who is sexually active should be tested for HIV every 5 years. Is it really necessary for people like us?

Thanks for the question!  You must have read the Manitoba HIV Program testing guidelines.  You are correct that we recommend HIV testing every 5 years for sexually active Manitobans.  Safer sex practices (which includes testing) are for everyone regardless of their relationship status, gender, sexual orientation, race or whether they’ve ever had a sexually transmitted infection before or not.

Many people who are in long term relationships choose to test so that they can be sure of their status.  In this case, the sexual health assessment done by a clinician may be fairly simple and straight forward, and once you and your partner know your statuses you can enjoy condomless sex without worrying about the unknown. Should anything show up on the test, you’ll be able to treat it and move forward.

Not all married people are in mutually monogamous relationships, so if one partner has sex with another person, it’s possible to bring STIs back to the relationship.  There are other ways that HIV and Hep C are transmitted, so if either of you inject drugs, routine testing and using new supplies every time is important.

It is up to you how often you get tested, but even in a long term relationship, you are the only person who can truly stay on top of your HIV status.  You can ask your family doctor for testing or visit Nine Circles, or another testing clinic in Manitoba.