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Risk of having kids while being HIV +
Oct 18, 2006

Hi, I thank you so much for taking the time to answer this questions. You're great.

I am a 36 year old white, gay male and I have been diagnosed with HIV for five years. My viral load is 65000 and my cd4 count is 450. I have been wondering how safe or recommended it would be to try and have a child. I have always wanted to be a father, but since I found out I am HIV+ I have been worried that I can't have kids anymore without infecting the child as well. But I'm just confused. What do you recommend? Is it dangerous to infect the child or would it be possible to have a healthy baby?

I really want to know your opinion. Please help! Thank you so much,

Ben

Response from Dr. Wohl

Um, Ben. As a gay male how exactly are you going to get said baby? If you are planning on impregnating a gal pal who will carry and birth your tot for you, that is sweet but there is a big risk you will infect the kind woman lending you her womb. Your viral load is hardly trivial and infection during sex is a real possibility.

The only way that this coulod be done with some margin of safety would be to undergo a sperm washing procedure at one of the reporductive technology centers specializing in this technique. What they do is try to isolate the sperm (which does not carry HIV) from the semen (packed with HIV infected cells) and then inseminate the 'washed' sperm into an ovulating woman. The risk seems to be low for infection of the woman. Ideally, your viral load should be low so, getting on HIV therapy first may be required.

If, I have it all wrong and you are merely considering adopting, well, have no fear. You will not infect anyone through casual contact, that includes tending to dirty diapers, scrapped knees and teenage acne. The greatest risk of having a child is to you. Two words sum up this risk; Learner's Permit.

DW



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