just found out my partner is hiv+
Nov 26, 2010
i am a woman in a heterosexual relationship. i have been with the same man for 6 months. we've used a female condom every time we've had sex. i get tested every 3 - 6 months religiously. since day one i have been asking my partner to get an hiv test and he just kept putting it off saying he is deathly scared of needles. two months ago, because he continued to refuse to take a test, i stopped having sex with him altogether. his decision not to get tested, and my decision to not have sex unless he got tested, has put a huge strain on our relationship. last night my partner confessed to me that he is hiv+ and that is the real reason he has been refusing to take a test-- because he didn't know how to tell me the truth. i am now confused and scared. confused because i feel that it was his social responsibility to tell me his status. i would never sleep with someone without disclosing mine. that said, i cannot imagine how hard it can be to tell someone you are hiv+, so i am trying not to pass judgment on him for keeping it a secret. the fact that he was adamant about us using condoms makes me feel that he wasn't trying to put me at risk intentionally-- but still i feel that it was not his place to make decisions about my health. but that's not what is really bothering me right now. right now i am just scared that i have been explosed to hiv. we've always used female condoms but there were two incidents when the condoms failed, or rather we failed to use them properly. 1) on one occasion the female condom slipped into me during intercourse but it took about 2 - 5 minutes before we realized what happened and he withdrew his penis. he hadn't ejaculated but i am not sure if there was pre-cum. it took me a while to get the female condom out since it seemed to have gotten pushed pretty far inside. i am nervous that maybe the female condom could have caused some abrasion or small cuts on my vaginal wall and since his penis was no longer in the condom fluids may have been exchanged. or even if the condom didn't cause any damage his penis was still inside, unprotected for minutes and i was exposed to whatever it had to offer. 2) on another occasion, again using a female condom, nothing seemed weird during intercourse, but i examined the condom after finishing (as i routinely do) and there was no ejaculate in it. my partner swears his penis remained in the condom the entire time and that there was ejaculate present, just not a lot of it. i was nervous that something went wrong and i took the morning after pill to prevent pregnancy. i would have taken pep if i knew he was hiv+. last night when i brought up the two incidents, he said because he knew his hiv status, he has paid attention to the condoms when we've had sex, checking to make sure the ring is on the outside of me and that his penis was inside it. he says the only time he slipped for a minute was with the incident when the condom got pushed into me but that we fixed the situation with a few minutes. he says that the second incident, was only an incident in my mind. and that he is sure his penis was in the condom the entire time. he tested positive a year ago and has not been to the doctor since. the second condom incident happened september 15 and i tested hiv- on october 13. i will take another test on december 15 (which will be the 3 month mark from the incident). but i am scared. i have been adamant about being tested and using condoms for at least the past decade and i am scared now that i am at risk because i let my defenses down.
my question is (after that whole spiel!) what do you think my chances are of having contracted hiv? i have been googling all night and have come up with a hundred answers. and if i go for the test on december 15 and it comes back negative can i breathe easy or should i really wait until the six month mark?
Response from Dr. Frascino
Your overall HIV-acquisition risk is exceedingly low, but not completely nonexistent. Excessive worry is not warranted, but I would recommend follow-up HIV-antibody testing at both the three- and six-month marks.
It's concerning that your boyfriend tested HIV positive a year ago, but has not seen a doctor since! I would strongly encourage him to establish care with an HIV specialist physician without further delay.
Should you proceed on with this relationship, you and your positively charged mate should read through the chapter in the archives devoted to magnetic couples. There are a number of harm-reduction measures you might want to consider, including PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis).
Finally, regarding disclosure, I agree it would have been best if your partner disclosed his virally enhanced status before you did the horizontal mattress mambo together. However, I'm pleased you used condoms (female condoms) for every bout of lovemaking. The two incidents you described would be considered low risk at best.
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