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HIV Progression
Feb 8, 2009

My wife tested +ve on 9/01/09 while I tested -ve on 15/01/09. Due to serious vaginal thrush for a couple of years, we have used condoms almost all the time. Last time we had unprotected sex was 2.5yrs ago. While trying to handle the diagnosis I also have so many questions. Her CD4 was 37 6% and VL 181 018. She says the last time she slept with someone else was before we met in June 1990. If it possible for her to have been infected then and for me to be still -ve after 16years of unprotected sex and two sons (13 & 7) both -ve? Am I being selfish wanting to know this?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Is it possible? Yes, it is. Your wife's CD4 count of 37 suggests she has been infected for a very long period of time, even 16 years!

Is it possible, despite her chronic and longstanding HIV disease, that you and your two sons are negative? Yes, once again it is possible. Not every HIV exposure leads to HIV transmission (thankfully!). It is also possible for an HIV-infected woman to give birth to HIV-negative children.

Are you being selfish wanting to know when your wife was infected? No, I wouldn't call it selfish; however, it is a bit insensitive. The questions that come to my mind include: Why wasn't her diagnosis picked up sooner? Recurrent "serious vaginal thrush" should have been a tip-off for testing. Also, why wasn't she screened for HIV at the time of her two pregnancies? I find it tragic and somewhat shocking that this diagnosis was missed for so long in someone who has access to medical care.

At this time the most important thing to do is focus on your wife's health. She needs to establish care with an HIV physician specialist without delay if she has not already done so. I would also advise you to read through the chapter in the archives devoted to magnetic couples (one positive, one negative). Your wife might also find much useful information on this site as she adjusts to her new reality.

Good luck to you both.

Dr. Bob



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