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Husband diagnosed as positive!
Nov 18, 2004

I HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR 13YRS.MY HUSBAND WAS SERIOUSLY ILL IN MAY 2004 AND WAS DIAGNOSED HIV+.OUR LAST SEXTUAL CONTACT WAS 2WEEKS BEFORE THE DIAGNOSES.HIS CD4 COUNT WAS 13.I WAS DIAGNOSED -VE.WE HAVE HAD UN PROTECTED SEX ALL THOSE YRS ,EVEN WHEN I'M MENTRUAL. 1.HOW COME I'M -VE 2.IS POSSIBLE THE TYPE OF VIRUS HE'S GOT CANNOT BE PASSED TO ME OR IS IT MY IMMUNE SYSTEM JUST RESISTED 3.HIS VIRAL LOAD HAS BECOME UNDETECTABLE,IS IT OK TO HAVE UNPROTECTED SEX SINCE WE HAD IT ALL THESE YEARS

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

1. Not every HIV exposure leads to HIV transmission. There are many factors involved. The risk for HIV transmission per episode of receptive vaginal exposure with a partner confirmed to be HIV positive is estimated at 0.1% to 0.2%. Consequently, statistically, it is indeed possible you have remained HIV negative, despite repeated exposures. You've also been extremely lucky!

2. As I mentioned, there are many factors involved with HIV transmission. Certainly viral strain, route of exposure, amount of infected fluid involved and immune integrity, among many other factors, come into play. However, to specifically answer your question, no, it is not possible that your husband's virus cannot be transmitted to others. Remember he contracted it from someone else, right? And no, your immune system is not resistant to HIV. Don't rely on false hope and past experience to assume you cannot become infected by having unsafe sex with your HIV-positive husband!

3. No, having an undetectable viral load does not preclude the possibility of HIV transmission. Yes, it may decrease the risk somewhat, but it most certainly does not eliminate the risk. Review the archives for additional details.

My advice is that you immediately begin using latex condoms and that you get HIV tests at three months from your last potential exposure (unsafe sex). If that three-month test is negative, repeat the test at six months, as you've had a very significant exposure with a person confirmed to be HIV positive.

Good luck! We'll all keep our fingers crossed your tests will remain negative. Also make sure your husband knows about this site. Hopefully he'll find it helpful as well.

Dr. Bob



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