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+couple-infected by same virus..male has higher load..want to conceive
Jul 25, 2004

I contracted HIV from my partner who was unaware of his status. He has a higher vl than I do. Neither of us has started treatment yet. We want to conceive children while we are healthy. Should we: 1. Both start treatment and have undetectable VL before trying to conceive? 2. Have unprotected sex only during my fertile period right now? 3. How dangerous is it for us to have unprotected sex if we have the same virus and neither of us has started treatment? 4. Can my vl increase if we have unprotected sex and he has a higher viral load.

Thanks

Response from Dr. Lee

Please consult a doctor before proceeding.

1. Both start treatment and have undetectable VL before trying to conceive? Generally this is the recommended course of action.

2. Have unprotected sex only during my fertile period right now? Not a good idea. (See below.)

3. How dangerous is it for us to have unprotected sex if we have the same virus and neither of us has started treatment? Very! One reason that women may progress more rapidly without treatment (evidence in several early studies) is because of repeated re-infection. Re-infection may cause your viral load to go even higher. A second reason is that women are thought to be infected with several "families" of virus rather than just one "family". In other words, it is possible that you have only a couple of the types of viruses from your partner. With further exposure, you may have infection from additional types that he carries. The more varied the viral population is, the more likely there will be mutations that allow it to escape the immune systems efforts at control.

4. Can my vl increase if we have unprotected sex and he has a higher viral load. Yes. Please see a doctor. Unprotected sex is more dangerous for you than for your partner.

Be well.


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