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hiv tests husband tested positive..plz help

Dec 1, 2006

Dear doctor,

My husband - 30yrs old tested HIV positive with ELISA and Western Blot in nov2006. His CD4 count is 249.

We have a 13month old son.during 8th month of pregnancy, i tested negative for ELISA.In Nov 2006(nearly 5 months later), I tested negative for HIV DUO(iv generation test)

1)What are the chances that me and baby are infected? Do I need to do a retest?

2) Is it possible that my husband is wrongly diagnosed since I have tested negative?

3) what is the percentage occurrence of the HIV in semen?

4) Can my husband live a normal life if we take good care of his health.

Both of us are software professionals from India.Our careers ,our son's life and a lot more is at stake. Please help us.

Response from Dr. Frascino


I'm sorry to learn of your husband's recent HIV diagnosis. Of note is the fact that 25% of the estimated one million HIV-positive Americans are completely unaware they are infected. For all newly diagnosed HIVers, I recommend a confirmatory test on a second blood sample to rule out the rare possibility of a technical or clerical error.

To answer your specific questions:

1. If you have had unprotected sex with your husband and he is confirmed to be HIV positive, you and your baby would be at risk. The estimated per-act risk for acquiring HIV from unprotected receptive penile-vaginal sex is 1 per 1,000 exposures. That you tested negative during your pregnancy and again this month (Nov 2006) is encouraging. You will need additional HIV tests three months after your last potential exposure and if negative, a follow-up test at six months to confirm your HIV-negative status. I would also have your infant tested, but only a single test is needed, assuming he/she is negative (highly likely).

2. It's possible, but unlikely. As I mentioned above, he should get a confirmatory test on a second blood sample, if this has not already been done.

3. HIV viral load in semen is not routinely measured. In clinical studies where it was, the viral load in blood and semen was closely correlated.

4. There have been remarkable advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. No one has a crystal ball to predict the future; however, with access to HIV specialty care and the latest potent therapies, your husband has an excellent chance of responding well to treatment. If his CD4 count is indeed in the 250 range, he should very seriously consider beginning HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) now to promote immune reconstitution (increased CD4 count) and decrease the likelihood of an opportunistic infection. I strongly urge his getting established with an HIV specialist who provides comprehensive and compassionate care without delay. Go with him to his doctor visits to learn more about HIV, his therapy, safer sexual techniques and other related issues. I would also suggest both you and he review the wealth of information on this site and its related links. Start by accessing the Quick Links on The Body's homepage. There you will find sections such as HIV Testing, HIV Medications, HIV Monitoring Tests, Inspiring Stories and Just Diagnosed.

Good luck to you both.

Dr. Bob

embarrased, humiliated, violated.....and angry!

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