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Can I make my HIV+ partner sick?
Jul 8, 2003

I'm in a serodiscordant dating relationship & am scared that I'll infect my HIV+ partner with colds, flu, and other infections/viruses my body may be fighting that can be transmitted through saliva, etc. If his CD4 count is already hovering around 400 with an undetectable viral load, I'm concerned he won't have enough of an immune system to fight back with & the last thing I want to do is contribute to a horrible illness that puts him in hospital. Please advise.

Response from Dr. Remien

While I am not a medical doctor, my feeling is that while your concerns are well intentioned, your level of anxiety and concern is unnecessary. First off, it sounds like your boyfriend is in very good shape and that his immune system is quite healthy. Everyone, including your boyfriend, is exposed to a wide range of pathogens on a daily basis. Your vigilance in protecting him from illnesses that you may be carrying need not be much different than if he were not HIV+. Everyone should be cautious about passing on colds, the flu, etc. to their partner when they are ill. Similarly, you would not want to expose your partner to an STD that you may be carrying. Beyond that, you need to be able to live your lives with some normalcy. People with HIV are generally quite capable of having colds, the flu, etc. and be able to handle them just like everyone else.

Please raise your concerns with a physician and get the reassurance that you need on this issue.


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