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Recently HIV Positive
Dec 10, 2002

I am recently (1 week)HIV positive. My husband is negative. I am completely devastated! I start next week with an infection control specialist. I have no signs or symptoms what so ever, except some fatigue. However I'm also 100lbs overweight. I have a daughter who I am scared to death for. I did not have an HIV test before my pregnancy. I had a c-section and only breast fed for 1 month. I will have her tested, but I was hoping you could you give me some type of something about her possibility of being positive. I know it can be transmitted through breast milk. However, without being too personal, my husband had my breastmilk, and he is negative. My daughter has never been sick, except for chronic sinus infections which she had her adenoids removed, and she has been fine. I don't have any idea where or when my exposure came from, I'm exposed to HIV people everyday in my line of work. Please offer some guidance, I have a highly public life and I can't afford to have anyone know, not at this point.

Response from Dr. Luzuriaga

First, you should know that HIV care has improved markedly over the last decade and that HIV infected individuals can lead high quality lives for many years. I would urge you to begin to learn about HIV. The HIV Basics is a good place to start. The Treatment (especially the Treatment Guidelines) documents will help you to understand how your specialist will evaluate you and provide good information on treatment recommendations and options. If your husband is HIV negative, you might also wish to check out the information and Forum on safe sex. This is a lot of information, particularly when this is so new to you. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your provider or through any of the Body's online Forums.

In the absence of therapy, up to 10% of women can pass the virus to their baby. It sounds as if you were unaware of your infection and when it might have occurred. Unfortunately, there is no way to know your daughter's infection status, except by testing her directly. You don't mention her age -- if she is older than 18 months, an HIV antibody test can be used for screening. If she is under 18 months of age, more specific tests for the virus ("PCR") should be done. These tests are fairly widely available -- your pediatrician should be able to order them or you could ask your specialist to refer you to a pediatric infectious disease specialist.


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