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Partner lied about status
May 13, 2008

I just found out my partner has been HIV positive for five years. He was afraid to tell me. While we always practice safe sex, he is uncircumcised and regularly leaks pre-cum fluids. Since I have performed fellatio on him several times, how much at risk am I to contracting the virus? I feel not only betrayed but very scared.

MFMichael

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey MFMichael,

Why are you feeling so scared? We must assume all our sex partners are HIV positive and take all the appropriate precautions to prevent HIV transmission. That way, even if we find out our partner is lying, never knew he was HIV infected, or seroconverts during the relationship, there should be no cause for alarm, because safer sexual techniques would have afforded protection, right? You report you and your deceptive boyfriend "always practiced safe sex," so what's the problem?

Regarding oral sex, the HIV transmission risk is very low, so low that many guys and even some magnetic couples feel the risk is acceptably low and, as a result, do not bother with condoms. Pre-cum can contain active virus, but remember, HIV cannot permeate intact skin. Also if your boyfriend was on medications that drove his plasma HIV viral load to undetectable levels, the risk of HIV transmission would decrease significantly.

I certainly understand your feeling betrayed. I also understand the challenges of HIV disclosure due to the fear of rejection. However, I always encourage full disclosure before sex. Situations like yours demonstrate why. Even though you practiced safe sex and have, most likely, a negligible chance of acquiring the virus, you still feel betrayed by his not disclosing his status to you. And now trust levels will be difficult, if not impossible, to rebuild within your relationship. So instead of a potentially happy, healthy and honest magnetic couple, you have a relationship characterized by deceit and feelings of betrayal. Couples counseling may help if you plan to continue on with this relationship.

Regarding HIV screening, you'll need an HIV test at three months from the time of your last potential exposure.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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