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hiv partner
Jul 13, 2007

Hello Dr. Bob, My name is Jay... Sad but true... In 2004 my wife tested positive for hiv which she caught it from a surgery she had is what her Doctors have told her. She has been on meds ever since and her Doctors have told her that she is undetectible and is working on getting her CD4 count above 262. Is there anything she can do to help this along? She is doing ok, just worried about the CD4 counts. Also, before she found out she had this virus, we had a great sex life without condoms and I am scared that I may have this disease and it's not showing up. I have been tested many times since 2004 and in fact my last test results (blood work) came back showing i was negative. What i wanted to know is, Is there anyway that i may have it and it is just lying dormit or something and not showing up or what? We are still having sex, just with condoms now, which i hate, but I am trying to be safe and do what i can to please her. We also have 2 little ones ages 6 and 7 which my wife does not want them to know about this illness with her. I am scared that i may have caught this virus but it's just not showing up. I think i have read everything out there on this and still i am puzzled about if i could have caught this. I have also asked everyone (Doctors) that i think may know the answer but i keep getting different answers. Can you please help me with this so i can get a little ease of mind. Also, Hats off to you for having this so people can ask questions if they get stuck about something. I just wish there was a cure for this disease so you and other people including my wife wouldn't have to worry about taking meds or the disease. I know you have come a long way and plan on going further.. Again, Hats off to you and everyone else trying to help people out when in need... If i could meet you in person, i would shake your hand and even give you a hug for what all you have done. I know you are busy and sorry to take up your time, but i wanted to know or try and find if there were answers to my questions. God Bless you and keep up the great work..... Thanks again Jay in Florida

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Jay in Florida,

I find it somewhat hard to believe your wife contracted HIV from a surgical procedure if you live in Florida. If that were the case, chances are you would now be the recipient of a large monetary reward and considerable notoriety from a malpractice lawsuit. Perhaps the surgery was performed in some developing country that does not adhere to universal precautions (or medical malpractice lawsuits)?!?

Regarding your wife's response to her antiretroviral regimen, it would be difficult for me to comment or make specific recommendations without knowing much more information (her current regimen, how much improvement there has been since starting, how high her plasma viral load was before starting treatment, etc.). What I can say is that if her HIV plasma viral load has fallen to undetectable levels on HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy), this would be a very encouraging finding. It would mean the medications are effectively blocking HIV replication. This should allow for immune reconstitution (increasing CD4 count). I suggest you talk to your wife's HIV specialist about her clinical course and your concerns about her CD4 count.

Regarding your personal fears of being HIV infected, these are totally unwarranted. If indeed you have "tested many times since 2004" and have always been negative, HIV is not your problem. No way, no how. No, HIV can not be dormant. I don't know why you would be getting "different answers" from various physicians, because there really isn't any controversy here whatsoever. Negative is negative. Period!

Jay, continue to use latex condoms and water-based lubricants for penetrative sex. This is the best way to stay well. Should the condom fail or you have an unavoidable HIV exposure, PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) could be considered.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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