Sex and haemophilia
You may be wondering if it is safe to have sex. The answer is yes, although like anyone else you need to be responsible, which includes wearing a condom to prevent unwanted pregnancy and transmitting sexually transmitted diseases.
Haemophilia does not generally affect sexual activity, although there is a slight risk of developing minor bruising of the genitals in those with more severe haemophilia. Occasionally, internal bleeds can occur in your psoas (deep hip) muscle. This muscle runs from the spine, round the hipbone and down in front of the thigh and allows the hips to move freely.
It is important to seek prompt treatment for a bleed from the psoas muscle to protect the thigh muscle from possible nerve damage. You may not notice an internal bleed following sex, but there are signs you can look for. If you find it difficult to straighten your legs whilst lying down after sex, or find it difficult to get out of bed without using your hands to support yourself, you should consult your healthcare team immediately.
Taking steps to ensure sex is as safe as possible is essential for everyone – with or without haemophilia. Practising safer sex means always using condoms with a new or different partner. Without safer sex, not only are you in danger of contracting life-threatening diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B, or cervical cancer, but also other infections such as cervical warts, herpes, gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia.
If you received treatment for haemophilia before the advent of virally inactivated plasma products or recombinant products, it may be that you contracted HIV/HCV through your treatment. If this is the case, it is important that you practice safer sex to protect your partner.
If you are concerned that you have contracted or are at risk of HIV, it is important that you are tested as soon as possible. Contact your Haemophilia Centre, your local genito-urinary clinic or the Terrence Higgins Trust on their helpline 0845 1221 200.