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unexpected unprotected sex
Feb 23, 2014

Hello dr. Can my boyfriend get hiv from me if I'm undetectacle, I'm the reciever in the relationship, there was no blood present or nor torn tissue, can he still get it?

Response from Ms. Southall

HI In the research conducted so far, there have been no recorded HIV transmissions among heterosexual couples where the HIV-positive partner is on treatment and their blood viral load is undetectable. However, this does not mean the risk through condomless sex is zero. All of the couples studied to date have also reported using condoms often. This makes it difficult to determine the risk of HIV transmission when no condom is used.

Although there have been no studies among gay men and other MSM, there has been one report of HIV transmission occurring between two men when the HIV-positive partner had an undetectable viral load.

Also, the risk of HIV transmission when the viral load is undetectable may not be the same for all types of sex. This risk may be higher for anal sex than for vaginal sex, particularly if the HIV-negative partner is the receptive partner (bottom) during anal sex. This is because receptive anal sex generally carries a higher baseline HIV risk than other types of sex.

There are ongoing studies following serodiscordant heterosexual and same-sex couples who are taking HIV treatment, have an undetectable viral load, and do not always use condoms. These studies will provide a better understanding of the risk of HIV transmission when the viral load is undetectable.

It is up to you and your partner how you incorporate this information into your relationship. My husband is HIV free and I'm HIV positive. I have an undetectable viral load and we are not fearful of transmission.

This is also something to talk with your provider about.

Be well and stay safe, Shannon



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