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Should I get involved with a carrier?
Aug 10, 2008

I have recently met a wonderful guy I'm very interested in getting to know better. However, on our second date, he did explain to me that 10 years ago, he was infected with HIV, but that it was caught extremely early (within 2 weeks) in it's accute phase - and he started medication for it immediately. He has taken a couple of pills every night ever since, Apparently, the virus is now undetectable. However he says one can't rule out the fact, that technically, he could infect someone else - although the risk is much smaller than if he were HIV+.

(How much smaller?)

As he is a successful doctor, I have reason to believe what he is telling me.

This is my first encounter with HIV, and although I'm very concerned, I like the guy, and I haven't lost interest yet. But I haven't slept with him. I'm not sure I can, at least not until I know exactly, or to the best knowledgeable estimate, how much I'll be putting myself (and my children?) at risk.

I would definitely not embark on a relationship with someone who was HIV+. I don't know if my ignorance is raising the hairs on the backs of any necks when I say that, but psychologically, I wouldn't be able to overcome the fear, and relax enough to enjoy the ride, so to speak. :)

Can I afford to be a little more open minded about this one? I'm not sure I want to miss out on getting to know someone wonderful, just because I was scared and ill-informed. With condoms and oral hygiene, would I still be playing with fire - a ticking bomb, if I start getting intimate with this guy?

If it is relevant, I'm a guy too. :) Looking forward to some peace-of-mind giving informative advice.

The English Patient

PS: brilliant website

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello English Patient,

As a sexually active gay man, I'm amazed you are still so ill-informed about HIV/AIDS. Considering the pandemic has been with us for over 27 years, there really is no excuse.

Your "wonderful guy, successful doctor" is HIV positive. Consequently, if your dogmatic statement, "I would definitely not embark on a relationship with someone who was HIV+" is true, you can kiss this potential Mr. Right goodbye. (If you're afraid to kiss him because he's HIV+, maybe you can just wave.)

You seem to be confused regarding the difference between being "undetectable" and being "HIV+." Your Mr. Wonderful is both! "HIV positive" refers to the diagnostic test that confirms someone has contracted the HIV virus. "Undetectable" refers to the plasma HIV viral load. Mr. Wonderful is taking antiretroviral drugs that have suppressed his plasma HIV viral load to below the levels of detection of the testing assay. Hence we refer to this as being undetectable. It certainly does not mean he doesn't have HIV disease. He remains HIV positive. Everything he told you was absolutely true. Should you decide to proceed with the relationship, you would be part of a magnetic couple (one HIV positive, one HIV negative), just like the relationship I've been involved in for 15 years. I strongly advise you to read through the chapter in the archives devoted to magnetic couples. I also suggest you check out the wealth of basic HIV information on this "brilliant website," as you've obviously got some catching up to do!

Finally, regarding "playing with fire" and "a ticking bomb," I'm quite confident when I (HIV positive) have sex with my HIV-negative partner (Dr. Steve, the physician expert in The Body's Tratamientos forum), he does not feel a bomb ticking. And if he feels like he's playing with fire, it's only because we are having very hot, steamy sex, OK?

English Patient, it's time to get informed, whether or not you plan to slam the door on Mr. Wonderful and your potential future happiness.

Dr. Bob



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