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my boyfriend tested positive

Mar 3, 2008

Dear Dr. Frascino: My boyfriend just found out that he tested positive for HIV. It appears that he has had several opportunistic infections in the past couple of years, (shingles, psoriasis, multiple sinus and lung infections) we just never put it all together until now. I tested negative 1 year ago and I am waiting for results from my recent test, taken the day after we found out about him. I have many questions, but at this point the biggest thing on my mind is, has he been cheating on me? He claims he has always tested negative, that his last test was "2-3 years ago". We have been together for 5 years. I have never suspected him to be unfaithful; we are together 24/7. I believe that he was exposed to HIV before we met, but I don't understand the negative test. Is it likely that he had a negative test, years after contracting the virus? If so, how can I trust my test results? I'm committed to sticking by him with this disease, but not if he has been cheating. I know this seems petty, but as I said, I have a lot of questions, this is just the first of many. I'll also have to address my own safety, how to best take care of him, what our future looks like.... but first I think I have to decide if there is a future at all. This is all over the place, I guess I'm just very confused right now. Any advice will help. Thank you.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Sorry to hear about your boyfriend's recent diagnosis, but why are you asking me if he's been cheating on you? I don't even know your boyfriend, do I??? Shouldn't you be asking him?

I agree that if indeed he tested negative two or three years ago and you've been together for five years "24/7" and now he's HIV positive and he claims never to have been unfaithful, something isn't adding up. Is it likely he had a false-negative test? No, that would be extremely unlikely. I think you and your virally enhanced stud-muffin need to have a heart-to-heart talk. Of course if you're threatening to walk out on him if he's had a lapse in judgment, he may not be all that willing to be totally honest. (Selective amnesia could kick in for that isolated episode with the hot Fed Ex guy with the "big package" or the pizza delivery boy who delivered more pepperoni than pizza or cable guy who plugged in more than the cable-box or even the closeted Republican congressman with the "wide stance" in the next stall at the Minneapolis Airport or whomever.)

Regarding your question pertaining to your own test results, HIV-screening tests are extremely reliable. As for addressing your own safety within a mixed serostatus relationship, I suggest you peruse the information in the archives. We have whole chapters dedicated to magnetic couples, HIV prevention (sexual), HIV transmission (sexual) and safer sexual techniques.

Finally, I'm sure as shocking as this news is to you, it's even more devastating and frightening to your boyfriend. He needs your love and support now more than ever, whether or not he's made a mistake in the past or not.

Good luck to you both.

Dr. Bob

Thank you for responding Dr Bob

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