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HIV discordancy and ARVs
Oct 15, 2007

I am HIV negative and have an HIV positive partner. We have been together for 8 months, and although for the most part I feel comfortable about the discordancy there are times where I panic and I am really scared and it is putting some strain on us. We tested early on in the relationship and I decided to stay in the relationship. He is now on ARVs. His CD4 count has risen and his last viral load was undetectable. We use condoms always. What is my risk of infection in this scenario.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

If latex condoms are used properly and do not fail (break), your HIV-transmission risk is essentially nonexistent. HIV cannot permeate intact latex. No way. No how.

I strongly advise both you and your partner read through the sections of the archives of this forum dedicated to magnetic couples, HIV transmission and safer sexual practices. You should find the information and testimonials there reassuring. Communication is key in any relationship, but is even more essential for magnetic couples. Couples counseling may help if communication about this topic is difficult for the two of you. Also I would recommend discussing your concerns with your partner's HIV doctor. He should also be helpful in addressing your fears. He may also arrange for a starter course of PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) in case there is an unavoidable exposure.

From personal experience, I can tell you magnetic relationships can be magnificently successful. You'll read about this in the archives as well.

Good luck to you both.

Dr. Bob



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