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Sex without a condom and meds
Jan 2, 2006

If both partners are + with 0 viral load and on different meds and not using a condom what is the chance that they will become resistant to each others meds and get a stronger strain of the virus?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I do not have a specific odds ratio I can give you; however, even with undetectable viral loads, I will say the risk of superinfection (or reinfection) remains a very real possibility for you.

It is true that having an undetectable viral load significantly reduces the risk of viral transmission; however, you must also consider the fact that the HIV viral load in semen or vaginal secretions may be different than the viral load measured in blood. Also, even though you or your partner's viral load was undetectable at the time of your last blood test, things can change fairly rapidly if the virus develops resistance to one or more of the drugs you or your partner are taking.

The take-home lesson here is that safer sex techniques (condoms) are still recommended, even if both partners are positive, on HAART and have undetectable viral loads.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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