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Can I infect my partner?
Jan 25, 2001

I have none detectable VL and a Tcell avg. 450 and have been such for over 9years. My partner is suggesting its ok to have unprotected anal intercourse and feels as the passive partner he cannot become infected since my my VL is non detectable and I am healthy. Can he become infected by me?

Response from Dr. Remien

Yes, he certainly can. It is good for you that your viral load is undetectable. That means that right now your virus is replicating at a low rate and therefore causing "less" damage to your immune system than if it were replicating at a much higher rate. HOWEVER, HIV is still in your system and is still replicating. AND, it can still be transmitted to others. While the risk of transmitting it (likelihood for it to happen) "may" be less (research findings are actually mixed), it can still happen. It can still happen because, as I said, the virus is still in your body and still replicating. Also, the viral load of your blood (which is what is tested) can be different from the viral load in other parts of the body, including genital secretions (e.g., seminal fluid (cum)). And, viral load tends to fluctuate and is not static. Which means it can be different from day-to-day, and may not be the same today as it was when you were last tested.

The bottom line: HIV always has the possibility of being transmitted to another when you are living with HIV. I understand the desire to do away with condoms (at least once in awhile) for the sake of intimacy and pleasure. But you need to realize that there is some risk in doing that.

Be well and continue to take care of each other.


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