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bad luck keeps coming
Aug 29, 2004

Hi Dr.Remiem,I was diagnosed in may 1998 with aids C D-4 count of 4.I contracted this from my wife and i did lose her to pcp.I was left with to small children and my youngest also has aids.She is doing great!Shortly after i met a young women a nurse who brought me from deaths door. She is a wonderful mother to my children and just a great person. In the year 2000 she was diagnosed with huntington's disease a devastating degenerative brain disorder. i was blown away by the news. Since then we have been together for almost seven years we love each other very much.At this point in the relationship she is scared she is going to get sick from me. Thus my sex has come to a complete stop.I am undetectable and very healthy. She is convinced she is going to get this virus from me.I am well aware of the risk the last thing i want to do is spread this virus.She is turning 30 soon the prime of her sex life. I could go with out the sex if it would make her comfortable,but I'm not she want's it else where. I know your not a therapist and my question to you as a smart man with a Ph.D.that if we practice safe safe sex is she going to get sick over time. I know there is always risk in having sex with someone pos. Ilove her and don't want to lose her cause i have aids. I have three hearts involved. Hope to hear from you! HURTING BAD

Response from Dr. Remien

Indeed, you have been having your fair share of bad luck. You describe several things happening that are very challenging. It is nice that you have found love and support and that you are in good and stable health. It is unfortunate that your partner has been diagnosed with what is a devastating and degenerative disease. It is likely that this has increased her general sense of vulnerability, making her extra anxious about HIV transmission. As you have probably heard me say often in response to other inquiries, consistent and correct use of condoms is a highly effective means of preventing the transmission of HIV. If you are consistent in your use of protection the chances are very low that she would get infected. Illness that she may experience over time is unlikely to be as a consequence of having sex with you, if you practice consistent safer sex.

Again, having to cope with Huntington's disease as well as HIV in the family is very challenging and it is not surprising that she would be feeling so vulnerable. I think it is important that you make sure both of you are getting the support that you need. Support can come in many forms, such as from family and friends. I would also recommend that there be some supportive counseling, for each of you and/or as a couple, whether this be in the form of group or individually based.

By the way, I am a clinical psychologist who conducts behavioral research, and also psychotherapy (individual, couple, and family). I am not, however, a physician.


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