Positive couple and safe(r) sex
Aug 10, 2005
Hello Dr. Bob
You and the others at the body have been a great resource for my partner and I who are both positive and have been for over a year. Both our viral loads are currently undetectable. My T-cell count is much lower than his. We are a monogamous couple and have not been practicing safe sex which I know poses a risk, but we have received many conflicting reports and chose to not use condoms.
My partner has been told he can go on a drug holiday. When he is off medication, should we rethink our practices? I would hate to cause him to be super infected because he does not have the protection in his bloodstream of the anti-virals. I know that all and all we are taking a chance anyway, but with him pulling off of all meds, we are looking for advice.
Response from Dr. Frascino
You've "received many conflicting reports???" Hmmm . . . not from me. Take a stroll through the archives and you'll find my advice has been remarkably consistent. Drug holiday or no, detectable viral load or no, the risk of HIV superinfection (or reinfection) is real and has been well documented. True, we don't know how often it occurs, but there is no longer any question that the risk is real.
Next, will this very real risk increase if your partner takes a drug holiday? Yes, there is a very real possibility the risk of HIV transmission will increase, including, I must add, your risk! Off meds your partner's viral load may well increase, which could make him more infectious. Your T-cell count is already "much lower" than his. Is this a risk you are still willing to take???? I encourage you both to reconsider. Protect each other. Protect yourselves.
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