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7 Test Bands
Jun 12, 2001

In 1998 4 months preg with 1st child and diag w/HIV. Western blot confirmed HIV even though only 2 or the 7 bands showed up positive. 2 yr old child negative, had Doc gave me a tubal and the whole time my viral load has been undetectable. Should I be on medication? What are the chances of having another child and they are negative? Whats the chance of getting fullblown AIDS? What is my life span at this time? Can I ever have sex again?, and if I do have sex do I have to tell my partner even though nothing is detected? Thank you

Response from Dr. Pavia

If I understand your question correctly, you were diagnosed with HIV based on an EIA with a positive western blot that had only 2 bands, but have always had an undetectable viral load. The first question then, is, are we sure you are infected. Some people who are infected will have persistently undetectable viral loads, but this is rare. These are people who do very, very well for a long time without medication (called long term non progressors). You should do extremely well and live a long life.

However, we usually don't like to make the diagnosis of HIV for certain without seeing a positive viral load. In your case, I would want to repeat the testing when you are not pregnant, since false positive tests can occur during pregnancy. If you are positive, then a test called an HIV DNA PCR could be done that will confirm infection, even with a very low viral load.

If you have a normal CD 4 count and an undetectable viral load, treatment is usually not needed unless the viral load increases and the CD4 count falls. People with HIV can have normal and fulfilling sex lives. Safer sex will minimize the chance of infecting your partners. Check out the safe sex forum here if you have specific questions.

It is almost always appropriate to tell your partners. You can also tell them that with a low viral load and use of a condom, you would have a very low chance of spreading the infection.

The risk of having an infected child depends on your viral load and treatment. If you chose to have another child, you will want to discuss it with an HIV provider first, and will probably need to go on treatment during the pregnancy to help prevent infection in your child.

Good luck, and make sure you are clear on your infection status.

ATP



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