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Low Viral Load, Impossible to Transmit?
Jun 23, 2005

Someone we know has married an HIV+ person. His attitude towards HIV is very concerning for our family. He point blank, word for word said that it was IMPOSSIBLE to get HIV from HIM because his HIV is not contagious since his T Cells are low. (I think he meant viral load) He said, "If you had a big cut and I had a big cut, I could pour my blood into yours and you'd still never get HIV from me!"

Now we are completely UNTRUSTING of this person. And we feel he is feeding a line of you-know-what to our circle of friends with this because many of them take his word for it, won't do research on it, and don't take the Universal Precautions around him.

His every action now concerns me especially since we have children. If he truly thinks he can't spread HIV, what precautions would he feel he had to take? He wouldn't feel like he had to take any (and his actions have shown that...I won't go into detail about those.)

Anyhow, just for the record, I'd like to know from a doctor.

Thank you in advance!

Response from Dr. Frascino

HIV, even with an undetectable viral load, is potentially transmissible. For instance, his blood-to-blood scenario would definitely be extremely risky! However, without very specific circumstances blood-to-blood, unprotected sex, sharing intravenous drug equipment HIV is very difficult to transmit. For instance, casual contact, such as touching or hugging is not considered a risk, nor is coming into contact with tears, sweat or saliva.

Hope that helps!

Dr. Bob



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