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HAD BABY WITH INFECTED PARTNER.

Sep 11, 2002

hOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE UNPROTECTED SEX WITH A HIV POSITIVE FEMALE AND NOT BECOME INFECTED. SHE ALSO HAD MY CHILD WHO WAS NEGATIVE AT BIRTH BECAUSE SHE WENT THROUGH METHODS NOT TO INFECT HIM. MY SON AND I HAVE BEEN TESTED EVERY YEAR FOR THE LAST 5 YEARS, WE BOTH ARE STILL NEGATIVE. HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS BEFORE WE ARE COMPLETELY CLEARED?

Response from Mr. Kull

It sounds like your child is not HIV infected and no longer needs HIV antibody testing (as long as there is no mucosal exposures to HIV infected fluids in the future). If you have been tested three months (and in your case, repeat testing at six months to confirm results) after your last exposure to your partner, then you are not infected as well. In your case, there can't have been any mucosal exposures to your partner's blood or vaginal/cervical secrections.

HIV infection is not guaranteed when a person's mucous membranes come into contact with the fluids of an HIV infected person. There are many variables (known and unknown) that will influence the likelihood of transmission in any given exposure. Some of these factors include the type of fluid, the concentration of HIV in that fluid, the host's viral load, the presence of STDs, and the uninfected person's immune response. Also, in the United States, the insertive partner in vaginal sex seems to be at much lower risk than the receptive partner. There is evidence that the immune system can be effective in preventing infection when HIV is introduced to it; there is no way to predict this, but some people's immune systems may be more effective in holding off HIV than others. More research needs to be conducted to learn about the immune response to HIV.

You should not base your current or future behavior with your partner on the fact that you are HIV negative. You should always use condoms for sex with your partner as there is no way to predict whether or not you will be infected in the future. It's fortunate that you have remained negative and it is important that you take every precaution to remain that way.

RMK



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