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Women and HIVWomen and HIV
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Dec 28, 2004

I have sort of a confusing qusetion - If a hiv negative woman has intercourse with a HIV+ male, and they conceive - if the mother did not contract the virus from the unprotected encounter, will the fetus still become infected with hiv since the semen came from a HIV positive male? Is it possible in the above scenario for the woman to not be infected by the positive male? I sort of understand the risk factors and i think that if ejaculation occurs while the male is still inserted that this greatly increases the risk? Does there have to be an actually tear or open wound inside the vagina for transmission to occur, -basically how does male to female transmission occur through vaginal intercourse. Thank you for your time and thoughtful responses.

Response from Dr. Lee

The virus is not carried in the sperm, but in the semen. It is the sperm that incorporates with the egg to form the baby. Therefore,the infant is not at risk unless the mother is positive. This is because the virus can transmit across the placenta.

Women are at risk when they have sex with a positive male (even without an ejaculation, because the "pre-come" has virus in it as well). The vagina does not need to have sores, although sores tend to increase the risk. There are actually cells in the vagina that allow the virus to be carried into the body across the intact mucous membrane.

Be careful!

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