No viral load - Lower risk ?
Feb 17, 2007
Dear doctor - Thanks for a wonderful page and great work.I have been reading ur answers related to "No viral loads" and the risk to infect others.And i actually got a bit surprised when u say that the risk is about the same.Im a negative guy who have a positive girlfriend.She have no viral load and have been like this for 5 years,and she have great CD4, 875 at last test.As i wanted to know more about our chances when it comes to children in the future,i called the national information phone about aids that we have as a free help and information source in my country in europe.The people who answers there are people working with hiv,nurses,doctors.I asked VERY clear about the chances getting infected when she is no-load virus and im negativ.She told me that it had never happend that anyone got infected when the positive was no-viral stage.And she even told me that it was possible for us to get a child the normal way without taking a risk to me.So my question will be; 1.Is she totaly of the record? 2.Have there ever been reported infection to the negative partner when the positive has 0-virus load and not using protection? From now on we will use protection what so ever,if im lucky enough to still be negative,but i would be grateful for straight out answers/statistic.Sorry for the long question and my bad english(not my native language).Will donate.
Response from Dr. Frascino
I'm not sure where you are writing from, but I certainly don't agree with the information you've been given. First, I should correct one misunderstanding you have from my posts. I did not state the risk of HIV transmission when the plasma viral load is undetectable "is about the same" as when the viral load is elevated. Go back and reread those posts and I'm confident you'll see that I have consistently stated a suppressed or undetectable plasma viral load decreases the risk of HIV transmission, but it does not eliminate it.
The information you were given by your free help line stating that HIV transmission never occurs if an HIV-positive woman's viral load is undetectable is wrong and dangerous. Unprotected sex with an HIV-positive person is always risky! Male or female, elevated viral load or undetectable!
Regarding pregnancy "the normal way," once again I strongly disagree. There are ways to conceive without significant risk, but it involved in vitro fertilization.
My advice to you is to definitely use latex condoms for all penetrative sex. You'll also need HIV testing now and again at three months. If negative, you'll need one additional test at six months to confirm your negative status. I suggest you go with your girlfriend to her next visit with her HIV physician specialist to further discuss HIV prevention, HIV transmission and ways to safely conceive.
Stay safe and you'll stay well.
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