Discordant Couples (HIV Positive and Negative)
Nov 4, 1998
Hi Dr, My husband found out about a month ago that he is HIV positive I by some miracle am negative.( I had the test done that detects just 2 viruses.) Is it really OK to have sex with a condom as long as it is done properly? It may sound silly but I make my husband wear 2 condoms I am just to scared not to. Any info or links you could direct me to would be appreciated since this is all so new to me.
Response from Mr. Sowadsky
Thank you for your question.
Several recent studies looked at couples in which one partner was infected with HIV, and the other was not (also known as discordant couples). One study looked at the infection rate of HIV-negative women having sex with HIV-positive men. In couples who did not use condoms every time, 15% of the women eventually became infected themselves. In couples who used condoms every time, less than 2% of the women became infected. In another study looking at positive persons having sex with negative persons, when condoms were not used every time, 10% of the negative partners eventually became infected. In the couples who were always using condoms, none of the negative persons in the study became infected. These studies show that condoms will protect against HIV, but the key is that they be used every time and correctly.
For information about the using multiple (2 or more) condoms during sex, read the posting, CONDOM USE.
For information on some of the issues faced by discordant couples, read the posting, positive-negative relationship.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).
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