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couples & HIV
May 21, 2001

If sperms from an HIV+ couples are transferred to an HIV- mother, can the baby and the mother be infected?

Response from Dr. Remien

I am not sure exactly what you are asking. An HIV+ man can definitely infect and HIV- woman and subsequently her baby if he gets her pregnant. For a baby to be infected while in the womb or during birth, it is because the mother is HIV infected. And of course she can be infected from unprotected sex with an HIV+ man.

There is a procedure, known as "sperm washing," where the HIV+ man's sperm is spun out from the rest of the seminal fluid, in a laboratory, and is used to impregnate the woman. With this procedure, there is minimal risk for transmission of HIV since HIV is more likely to be in other cells of seminal fluid than attached to sperm. But this is a specialized procedure done under laboratory conditions. Any mixed HIV status couple that is interested in having a baby should be talking to their doctor(s) about this.

I hope this answers your question.

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