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Can This Be True???
Sep 6, 2000

Dr. Cohen -- PLEASE answer this question for me even if you don't post it! I have heard that it is no easier to become infected with HIV as a negative insertive partner in anal sex with an infected (HIV+) receptive partner who is undetectable with immeasurable viral load than it is with a person who is completely HIV negative. Can this be true? Is it true that if you are undetectable but positive and have an immeasurable viral load and the receptive partner in anal sex that it is harder to transmit the virus to an uninfected insertive partner than if you have measurable viral load numbers that are higher and not "undetectable"?

Response from Dr. Cohen

Well -- I don't know how I would answer this without posting it -- and we DO have a forum on safer sex issues -- but a quick answer can help here --

YES it is true that if the viral load is suppressed, someone is less infectious. Not zero chance, but less than someone who has a hi viral load. And yes, the receptive partner is generally at higher risk in anal sex -- so the insertive partner is at lower risk. AND it is likely that if the insertive partner is also circumcised, then he is at even lower risk -- since the foreskin is one way that HIV apparently can enter the body.

Not zero. But yes -- lower risk. Hope that clarifies.

CC

Cal Cohen, M.D., M.S.


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