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Hiv positive living with hiv negative husband
Jan 13, 2014

I tested positive in 2005 and since then I have done several tests that came back the same. My husband in the other hand has tested negative in all the tests he has ever done and he does not even use a condom since his results always come back negative. I have constantly told him of the risk we are both taking about not using a condom but he does not care since for the last 8 years we have been together his results always come back negative. Is he probably a silent hiv carrier.

Response from Dr. Wohl

There is no such thing as a silent carrier of HIV in terms of HIV testing. HIV is readily and easily diagnosed. So, your husband is indeed HIV- as of his last test.

It is very possible for him to be and remain HIV- despite years of unprotected sex with you. The key factor is your viral load. When the amount of virus in the body is undetectable it is very hard (but not impossible) for that person to transmit HIV. If you are on medication and have suppressed your virus, that could help explain things. Even if you are not on meds, if your viral load is naturally on the low side, your risk of transmission is relatively low.

Further, if you are a woman, the odds of transmitting the virus to a man in most places in the world is lower. In Africa, the odds of transmission may be the same for men and women.

Lastly, there is the luck factor. The risk of transmission during penile-vaginal sex can be fairly low (on the order of 1 in thousands) depending on the above and other factors.

While most all would advise use of condoms to be on the very safe side, many experts would be comfortable if you practiced unprotected sex provided your viral load is undetectable.

DW



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