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RE: Testing for Negative Husband / Post-Exposure Prophylaxis
Jun 10, 1999

Hi Dr. Remien. Just wanted to address the question that you asked in response to my original question about my husband. Our general practitioner (GP), who confirmed my diagnosis with a second set of antibody testing following positive testing by a life insurance company, is the one who has recommended the testing of my husband every six months. I, like you, have been having a hard time understanding why this specific frequency is necessary; more importantly, this is difficult for my husband. Since I am not aware of any formal recommendations or guidelines that exist with regards to this specific issue, I just wanted to seek out another opinion. I think that some GP's are advising those in mixed status relationships to test as frequently as those who are having unprotected sexual encounters with strangers. Based on what I have seen in published studies, I question whether or not this is valid when there is little or no seroconversion amongst couples who consistently practice safer sex. Also, you raised the issue of the possibility of post-exposure prophylaxis. Could you give me information about where I may go to learn more about this issue as it relates to serodiscordant couples? One thing I am starting to learn is that information is power with this disease and that you have to take the time to learn about these new advances in treatment for yourself, as a GP may be totally uninformed regarding recent advances such as post-exposure prophylaxis. Thank you so much for your kind response.

Response from Dr. Remien

You're right there is very rarely seroconversion within couples of mixed HIV status when they consistently practice safer sex. Regarding your interest in post-exposure prophylaxis, please see an earlier question and response: Emergency Kit on this forum.


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