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i'm poz/he's neg after 12 years
Apr 21, 2002

dear doc.i was recently diagnosed in nov 2001 hiv pos.my initial vl was 704.000 and cd4's 240 in dec 2001. started on sustiva and combivir jan 14th 2002 after 6 weeks on these meds my vl was 950 and cd4's 540.dont know what they are now.anyway i have been with my partner for 12 years haveing unprotected sex the whole time up untill i found out in nov 2001.he has taken my seamen oraly and analy as i have taken his the whole time.sence finding out about mself he has been tested twice 1st time when i found out and then again 4 months later in march,he is neg.my question is how is this possible that he is neg.and should he be in some kind of study to help those of us that are poz. thanks for your imput

Response from Dr. Pavia

First, I am glad you are doing well on therapy. It sounds like you need to get back in for another set of labs.

It is a good question to ask why your partner remains negative after all this time. One question to consider is whether you are really sure you have been infected all of these years or whether there may have been an outside encounter more recently.

However, it is possible that he has been exposed for 12 years and is negative. There are two main reasons that we know about (beyond plain dumb luck). One is that there are people who are born with changes in the gene for one of the receptors that HIV uses to get into cells. These people may be very resistant to being infected. Depending on the mutation and whether it occurs on one or both copies of the gene, they may be very resistant to infection or just relatively resistant.

The other situation has been described in a small number of repeatedly exposed yet non infected persons, most of whom have been sex workers in Africa. These folks have evidence having developed an immune response to the virus, but the immune response seems to have protected them.

I would still strongly urge you to begin to practice safer sex, since you have been lucky so far, but that is not a guarantee.

Good luck

ATP



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