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Transmitting resistence
Jun 9, 2012

I have a partner that has a resistence to Atripla, more specifically they think sustiva. I am on Atripla and with my health situation they cant currently take me off of it to switch to another medication. What I was wondering is if it is possible, with us both being on medications and are both undetectable, if there is a risk of him transmitting the resistence to me?

Response from Dr. Wohl

Good question! There could be a risk under certain circumstances. If your partner's viral load were to spike, he would be infectious to you during unprotected sex. Further, if some of the Sustiva resistant virus were to be transmitted that could lead to failure of your Atripla. With his viral load load, he probably is not shedding virus, resistant or otherwise.

This risk is small, especially if he stays on his meds. We are getting a better understanding of the virus that people transmit to others and it is not some random HIV among the swarm in circulation in the body. Specific types of 'founder' virus lead the transmission charge. And, sadly, some of these can be resistant to HIV meds.

So, I would continue to use condoms given your dependance on Atripla and his history of resistance.

DW



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