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Dec 3, 2002

My husband is positive and I am negative. I want to have children. His T-Cells are around 700 and his viral load is undetectable. I understand the chances of acquiring HIV (with his high T-Cell count and undetectable viral load) are low (about 1 in 10,000) but I want to be more sure in protecting my unborn. We have tried sperm washing, but that has been a disaster. I want to know about using AZT or some other like drug as a sort of morning after pill to help prevent transmission from my husband to myself. I have heard of women using this method, not necessarily for pregnancy, but just as a preventative. Do you have any thoughts on this or can you give me some other procedures we may try. Thank you.

Response from Dr. Luzuriaga

With an undetectable blood viral load, the chances of transmission are low but not nil -- virus can sometimes be detected in semen when it's undetectable in the peripheral blood. Since it might take several tries to become pregnant, I would not favor the post-exposure prophylaxis route.

Sperm washing has been used with success in some centers but it sounds as if you have had a bad experience with it. In vitro fertilization is another possibility that lowers (but does not eliminate) the risk of infection -- you should ask your OB care provider about this possibility.


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