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Why am I not positive like my partner?
Oct 28, 2000

My partner and I have been together happily for 29 years. About 2 years years ago, his platelet levels began to fall and he was sent to a hematologist who did testing -- inlcuding HIV. Neither of us had even been tested before - his test came back positive (VL 95000/CD4 117- he is currently on HAART for 1 year and doing very well). I have had three HIV tests in the past year since his diagnosis and all are negative. Here's my question. Although we never practiced anal sex, oral sex with semen ingestion WAS very common. I know HIV can be transmitted orally and know (for certain) that's how my partner contracted the virus -- but how is it I am neg after years and years and years of swallowing his semen. I'm puzzled.

Response from Dr. Remien

I think the best answer is to say that you have been very "lucky!" It is very hard to say why some people do not become infected after exposures to HIV. Things like genotype of the virus, viral load, condition of the mouth or other sex organs, etc. can influence whether infection occurs or not. There are also some people who have a pre-disposition (most likely genetic) towards not getting infected. It is believed that some people's bodies have a greater "natural" ability to resist infection.

I certainly cannot say what exactly is going on with you. I don't think you can assume that you will never become infected if you continue to expose yourself to the virus. Be well, stay healthy, and continue to enjoy your relationship with your partner.

Low viral load and transmission

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