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Sudden test ruined my new family life
Aug 5, 2014

Hi dear doctor,

I'm very down and really don't know what to do. 2 days ago I had an emergency c-section due to preeclampsia and they found out I'm HIV positive.

I'm in huge shock as I'm 3 years with my husband, and before in long relationships. I'm Catholic. Now my baby is getting retrovir treatment and although my husband says we will find a solution I feel so guilty!!

I don't know how it could happen, with who and when (my husband is negative). I feel guilty for the baby that she has to take this treatment (she came anyway so early, at 35 weeks), and I know I lost my marriage. My husband will never sleep with me again, he is too afraid. What started to be a beautiful small family (he was crazy about having a child) turned out a nightmare.

I don't know what to do, my only thought is to leave them because I'm too much afraid to infect them and it stays forever in my mind....

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thank you for writing. I can understand how shocking all of this must be for you. I hope both you are your baby are doing well. While it is hard to think one's baby is on treatment, it is fortunate that such medications are available to keep her healthy.

I hope you and your family are in a location where you can get some help to work through this problem. Many couples have found themselves in similar situations and, with patience and lots of good communication, have moved past it to develop rich family lives. Your young daughter deserves to have both you and her father in her life. It is not necessary to leave them in order to protect them.

It is essential that you maintain your viral load at an undetectable level. This greatly reduces (if not eliminates) the chance of transmitting the virus. I am not certain if you both are Catholic and if your husband has an issue with condoms, but I recommend you discuss how you can have sex with your husband with the least possible risk with your doctor and perhaps with your spiritual advisors/priests. Finally, try and find some support in your community. Perhaps your doctor or other trusted people can help you connect with a group of individuals with whom you can share your experiences and concerns.

I wish you and your family all the best,

David



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