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Is it possible or have I lost my mind
Dec 18, 2006

Let me start by saying a so appreciate this website so much and I am so grateful. Okay here we go I am in love with a man that is Hiv+ and has been for a long time. He has undetectable viral loads and has had since he was 18. I have a 4 year old son from ny first marriage. I am wondering if my thought process is off. Is it possible to have a normal relationship and still preserve my life and my sons life? I care about this man so much!!! Any response education and help is much appreciated.

Response from Dr. Sherer

My topic is drug resistance, but I am happy to respond to this letter. Of course you're not crazy, or any crazier than anyone else who forms an attraction and a bond with another person. Noone ever said it was a rational process. And I'm a little skeptical about the way you use that phrase 'normal relationship' so easily; it might be the ultimate oxymoron, like 'military intelligence.'

In any event, there are many ways in which you can pursue this relationship and ensure your own safety, and your son's future security. If this is the absolute priority that will allow no risk, then you could have an entirely safe and non-sexual relationship. People do this all the time, though in my experience only a minority of people could manage this. Beyond that alternative, you are basically thinking of life with latex, i.e. condoms, with the understanding that they are not perfect, they require consistent use, etc.

Many discordant couples, in which one is HIV+ and the other HIV negative, choose to engage in unprotected sex when the HIV+ person is undetectable in their viral load while on ART. It is true that the risk of sexual transmission is lower in this circumstance, but the risk is NOT zero in that setting; there are many documented instances of HIV transmission from people with undetectable viral loads. I would discourage your acting in this way.

I will close by suggesting that your son will be far better off if you follow your heart and your dreams - with eyes wide open, and all efforts to ensure your safety and his future - than he would be if you let this opportunity go, just because of HIV. HIV demands our respect and our attention...but it is a mistake to let it take over your life.

I would urge you to talk to your doctor and to his doctor about this issue.

Will this make me resistant?

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