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My partner won't trust me anymore since he's HIV+
Jan 5, 2001

I have been living with my boyfriend for 2 months now and about two weeks ago we both got HIV tested. He turned out positive and I negative. Since then he's been going through a phase of fear, mistrust and occasional depression. He asked me to have another antibody test in a few weeks and I thought his request is reasonable. I'm not afraid of being HIV+, but I'm willing to meet his request considering the circumstances. He says he wants to know how he got infected. I'm not the only person with whom he had "unsafe" sex last year. I don't understand the point of knowing who infected him (that's not very likely to be determined with accuracy anyway) and let alone do I understand that he wants to see the test results "personally" because he claims he wants "clarity". I believe he should trust me the same way he has done so far. He, on the other hand, believes that I am "unreasonable" for not doing exactly what he wants. My questions are: he's afraid of kissing me because he thinks I might get infected. How reasonable is his behavior? How big is the risk? Should I let him see my test results (prior and future) personally for him to be at rest? Is it possible that he got infected from me, even though I'm not positive myself and even though we have only been together for 2 months? I appreciate your advice,

Response from Dr. Remien

In response to your first question, kissing is extremely low risk for transmitting HIV. Please see questions and answers on this topic on the Safe Sex and HIV Prevention Forum.

Your second question is essentially about trust between the two of you. It seems to me that you are still very new to each other and are unsure about a lot of things between you. (2 months is a very "young" relationship.) It's entirely up to you as to whether you show him the test results. It's interesting that you say he doesn't trust you to be telling him the truth about the results. Whatever you decide to do, be aware that this is about you and him discovering ways of trusting each other.

Your final question is a good one. It is possible that you could have infected him, if you are in fact infected with HIV, but have not yet developed antibodies. This is unlikely, but possible. It is also possible that he has already infected you, but you had not developed sufficient antibodies by the time of your last test. Many scenarios are possible, and you are right, it can probably never be known for sure who infected whom, and when. It typically takes a couple of weeks to a few months for antibodies to be developed after infection with HIV. The test for HIV is usually an "antibody" test. There are tests that detect the presence of virus directly, but are not commonly used for people seeking to find out if they are positive or not. See the following question and answer, for a more detailed discussion of this topic: How long do I have to wait until I get tested.

Bottom line for the two of you: There will be need for a lot of honest communication: talking AND listening to each other over time, and a lot to learn about each other, if this relationship is going to go anywhere.


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