CATIE shares stories of women living with HIV, stigma, U=U, and pleasurable sex. Studies on the effect of HIV on women’s sexual lives show that fear of transmitting HIV to their partners, anxiety, and depression, and broader societal stigma and discrimination are just some of the factors that can put a damper on the deed. Never feeling safe enough, it seems, is a common theme.
Margarite Sanchez, 60-year-old self-described artist, activist, and agriculturist was in her mid-30s when she was diagnosed with HIV. She was newly married at the time with a partner who was HIV negative. Valerie Nicholson is 62 years old, an Indigenous woman and a proud grandmother.
Both describe the scientific discovery of U=U as liberating—not only when it comes to their ability to have close relationships with their HIV-negative partners but also for how they feel about themselves as sexual beings.