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HIV levels not detected, Still at risk during sex?
Oct 22, 2004

My husband has HIV, at his recent doctor's meeting we were told that his HIV levels are undetectable. Recently we have been looking into washing the sperm so we could have a baby which is very expensive and the doctor told us that he was not allowed as medical doctor to say but, there is little or no chance of me getting HIV if while my husbands levels are undetectable we have sex and try to get pregnat, also he told us that while levels are undetectable we could have sex without a condom as long as my husband pulled out before ejaculating. This seems to me a little off. But my husband is sucking it up. telling me honey a doctor said it is ok maybe we should try for a baby. I just don't know. I need help and Honest answers. what percent of a chance is there that I could contract HIV?? Please help.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

If "he was not allowed as a medical doctor to say . . . ," I kind of wonder why he's saying it. I don't agree with his advice. In fact, I find it dangerous.

Unprotected vaginal sex with a guy known to be HIV positive does indeed carry a significant risk for HIV transmission, even if the guy's viral load is undetectable. It is true that having an undetectable viral load decreases the risk of HIV transmission somewhat, but certainly not completely. Also, the HIV viral load measured in the blood may be different than the HIV viral load in the ejaculate. I can't give you exact percentages on risk, as actually conducting a clinical trial to determine this would be unethical. Suffice it to say that the risk is definite and consequently should definitely be avoided. Please show this post to your husband.

As far as having a baby, the safest way would be sperm washing combined with artificial insemination. Yes, it is costly, but certainly less costly than risking your health!

Dr. Bob



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