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couple has AIDS

Nov 2, 2007

Dr. Bob, My boyfriend and I both were diagnosed with AIDS this past August. His t-cell count was 89 and mine was 6. We have only been together for 2 years. I just moved back to this state 3 years ago. Before we met, we were both married. It seems unreal that we both had HIV before meeting each other, and that we had it for probably the same length of time. What will it do if we have unprotected sex now?

Response from Dr. Frascino


Another two married dudes (who certainly never should have been married in the first place) who had longstanding HIV/AIDS infections and you didn't know it until this past August???? Hmmm . . . here we have additional evidence once again that our HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programs in the U.S. are an abysmal failure!!! It's frustrating, disconcerting and sad that over 25 years into the pandemic with over 25 million lives snuffed out by the virus, stories like yours are still so prevalent.

Now getting off my soapbox, I'll move on to your question. You both have advanced-stage AIDS. If you decide to have unprotected sex, you run the risk of contracting a superinfection. In other words, you could each contract the other's strain of virus. This theoretically could make your HIV disease progress faster or become more difficult to treat. For instance, if you or your partner picks up a strain that is resistant to one or more of the medications in your regimen, this could have disastrous consequences. Exactly how often superinfection (dual infection) occurs, we don't know. What we do know is that it is possible. You can read about dual infection or superinfection in the archives. Personally, this is definitely not a risk I would take.

I trust you are both under the care of a competent AIDS specialist physician. If not, you should be!

Good luck to you both. I'm here if you need me, OK?

Dr. Bob

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