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if my wife was HIV positive, will i get it too?
Jun 10, 2006

Dr. Daar, I have many questions, but i will start off with a few that you maybe able to answer. My wife and i have been together going on 13 years, in 2003 she almost died and was tested for hiv/aids and came up positive. She and i have been very faithful to each other and always have been side by side wheather it was working with each other or what ever. The test showed that her viral load was 400,000 copies and her cd-4 count was 10. The doctors did research for her to help trace the steps of how or when she may have gotten this disease and came up with 2 things, one she got it through a vaginal reconstructive surgery or the other was when she had dental work done. They did say it was hard to really tell,and since she has other health problems too, it could have progressed quickly with that as well. I was tested and came back negative, and have been going, it was every 6 months, now it is every year, i still test negative. My question is that since my wife is now undetectable, will i come up positive one day? We use protection now, but before she was sick or found out she had this disease, we didn't. How long will my wife live with this? She is 49 and i am 35, we have 2 small one ages 5 and 6 and will my wife be around long enough for them? Neither one of us drink or do drugs, although i do smoke cigarettes, but my wife doesn't.My wife is currently taking sustiva and truvada now, she was on a couple before and they seem to not work or something. Her viral load would come up and go back down, so far she has been undetectable now for a year and a half. The only problem is her cd-4 count will not go no further than 192 to 200, it fluctuates between that. How can we get that up? The doctors had my wife on 2 antibiotics called zithromax and bactrim, her doctors thought that the zithromax was causing her cd-4 count not to climb, so they took her off of both. I am very worried and use this site a lot. I am sorry to bother you, but no one seems to know anything.I love my wife very much, i have even stopped working to make sure she is doing ok. I do talk with my wife's doctor, but she only talks in doctor terms. I asked her the same questions, and all i get is that she does not know or that it is hard to tell because of other health issues that my wife may have. My wife has asthma really bad and is on a breathing machine daily or as needed to help with that. Please, I hope you can help me somewhat. Thank you so much for your time. worried in Pensacola, Fl.

Response from Dr. Daar

Thank you for your post. I will try to address some of your questions as directly as possible based upon the information provided.

In general, if you are HIV-negative at least six months after the potential exposure to your wife's blood or vaginal secretions contacting breaks in your skin or any mucous membranes, such as urethra, mouth or eyes then you are likely not infected as long as you avoid other exposures in the future. Certainly the use of barrier protection during intercourse and oral sex would be the safest way to prevent such exposures, along with simple things like not sharing toothbrushes or razors. Although the risk of transmission if an exposure did occur at a time when her viral load is undetectable is smaller than if the viral load were elevated it still could potentially occur so caution is justified.

Based upon what you have written I would be very optimistic that as long as your wife continues taking her medications and her viral load remains undetectable that there is a very good chance that she will not develop any complications of HIV, even if her CD4 cells do not increase dramatically above 200 cells/uL. Obviously I do not know enough about her other medical conditions to speak to these. I would encourage you to continue to communicate closely with her providers about all of these issues.

Best to you and your wife. Eric


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