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Safe Sex With My HIV + Partner

Aug 10, 2008

This might be a complicated question.

My long term parnter of 3 years was just diagnosed with HIV a month ago (July 2008). He has been sick for a few months now with a few things - cold, CMV, mersa, anemia. (we were unaware he had hiv). before all of this he was a completely healthy, eats well, and excersised 4-5 times a week at the gym. the last time we had unprotected sexual contact was at the beginning of may of 2008. the last time he was tested in feb 2008 and on may 13, 2008 (swab of the mouth tests), it was negative both times. he contracted CMV in june and was admited into the hospital for 2 weeks in the middle of june. during his treatment they ran blood work tests (western blot tests) and found he was positive.

i just became aware this past weekend (aug 2) and i was just tested (aug 4 2008) and tested negative to both tests my dr. ran (prick blood test and western blot test).

im a little confused because im the bottom (reciever) in our relationship and im wondering why i have tested HIV negative? the reason we havent been sexually active since the begining of may 2008 is because he had been feeling so ill and not "in the mood" to have sex.

i just dont know how i can be negative and he is positive? before may 2008 we were having unprotected sex each time we were intimate. has there ever been something like this in your experience? could the HIV been hiding in his system? once he got really ill in june, could it have caused the HIV to awaken? if so, could this be the reason im negative?

i plan on testing each month for the next 6 months to make sure im ok and then every 3 months after the 6 months.

neither of our doctors seem to have answers as to why im negative and hes positive. ive also asked my partner if he has been with anyone else sexually but he says he hasnt and i trust he wouldnt cheat on me. im just really confused/concerned.

Response from Dr. Frascino


I'm probably not going to be able to sort this out for you definitively over the Internet, as I don't have access to all your boyfriend's laboratory test results and medical chart nor do I have the benefit of a more detailed medical history and physical exam. What I can do is advise you some parts of the story don't make sense. If indeed your boyfriend tested HIV negative in February and May of 2008, it would be impossible for him to have HIV-related CMV retinitis one month later. CMV is a late-stage complication of AIDS. Consequently, he may well have been HIV positive for a number of years. That two HIV tests (February and May) would be false-negative tests is extremely, extremely unlikely, unless there was some unusual extenuating circumstance (for instance, his having HIV-2, but only having been screened for HIV-1). So something is not adding up here. You may need to discuss this with your boyfriend and his HIV specialist.

As for your primary question is it possible you could be HIV negative despite having had unprotected sex with your HIV-positive boyfriend? this is indeed very possible. As it turns out, not every HIV exposure leads to HIV transmission (fortunately!). Statistically, the vast majority do not. Take a read through the archives and you'll find many other situations similar to yours. That you have tested negative to date is encouraging. Follow-up testing will need to be done at three and six months from your last potential HIV exposure. More frequent testing is not warranted. I would advise both you and your boyfriend read through the chapters in the archives concerning magnetic couples, safer sexual techniques and sexual HIV prevention.

Good luck to you both!

Dr. Bob

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