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Husband HIV+, wife worried
May 9, 2005

HI,

I am a wife who has been married for 8 years and my husband found out he was HIV+ the year 2002. The messed up part about it is that the agency we work for told him they knew he was positive for 2 years(2000) leaving me at risk for transmission.

I did test in 2000 and was negative after he had his physical. They never notified him of his status after that physical which was weird. Anyway we had been having unprotected sex with him ejaculating inside me and we did test again for life insurance in 2003 and I was negative.

Since we learned of his status I have not been sexually active and if I did manage to do it he would never cum inside of me and made sure the semen never came in contact with my vaginal area. He is always told during his labs that his virus is very low and that my chance of contracting HIV is slim to none. Its been months since the last time I was able to do anything.

I just can not bring myself to to even be in the mood and I know it is frustrating for him but with him not wanting to use a condom I have totally been turned off. I expressed that to him and now he tries to include a condom but I still can not get over it.

He was not at risk of getting HIV and we have no clue as to how he got it. No tranfusions, no extra marital affairs, no drug use not nothing and all of a sudden he was told he is Positive for a disease he had not way of getting. Can you tell me if there may be a misdiagnosis. He never has had bad lab results and the doctors are amazed about it. I am thinking they are seeing something else beside HIV antibodies. He is positive for HSV 2 in which never has had any kind of outbreak in his life.

It is a weird situation. I want to know my risk. Should I be worried about this and where so I stand as far as transmission with low virus level for him and the doctors saying my chance is slim to none. Should I listen to them and just stay safe? Please let me know to calm my fears.

Thanks Worried Wife

Response from Dr. Remien

Hello - I agree that there are a few "puzzling" things in the story, as you tell it. The bottom line from my perspective is this: It is extremely unlikely that your husband is not infected with HIV since he has been repeatedly tested and they are able to detect his viral load. I've never heard of such a case where the person was not really infected. While there may be "reduced" risk with a "low" viral load, the risk remains real. The fact that you have remained HIV-negative in spite of repeated exposure may have more to do with your immune system than his virus (or both). In my opinion, it is important for you to work to use consistent protection so that you do remain negative. While this can be challenging for some couples, it is entirely do-able. Perhaps a few sessions with a couples counselor may help the two of you to successfully work on this issue.


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