Let me first start by saying that if used properly, condoms are a very effective way to prevent pregnancy, and the spread of STDs and HIV. Although I discuss engaging in raw sex, I am not against the use of condoms; neither am I advocating for their use. My stance is to educate yourself, know all the risk, open discussion with your partner, then make your educated decision. I was successful in conceiving a child while HIV positive without transmitting the virus. This may not be the case for everyone. My suggestion is to speak with your doctor (along with your partner) and discuss the facts with him/her.
When receiving a diagnosis of HIV positive, many things go through our heads. Some of them being, am I going to die soon, nobody will want me, I'm going to lose a lot of weight -- and even the thought of not being able to have children. As we now know, many of these things may not be true! The one that stands out the most for me is the inability to conceive while being HIV positive.
In the media we may hear a lot about women who are HIV positive and conceiving, and how they can take medications to ensure the fetus does not contract HIV. One thing I've noticed is that we rarely hear about men conceiving while HIV positive. Why is this? I think it's because men have a higher risk of transmitting the virus to a woman than a woman has of transmitting it to a man. The reality is that it happens.
In 2009 I received news that I was now HIV positive. At this time I had four children by two different women. One child was actually not mine but I claimed him as my own, and still do to this day. The other three were all girls. So despite my HIV diagnosis I was determined to try and have a biological son. I began to do my research on sperm washing. Sperm washing is a process where sperm is removed from the semen. Sperm is just a copy of DNA; the semen around the sperm is what carries the HIV virus so removal of the sperm from this fluid decreases the risk of HIV transmission ... and it can be as much as $10,000. I DON'T HAVE THAT KIND OF MONEY.
During the fall of 2010 there were articles online that suggested that, by taking my meds and decreasing the amount of viral load in my system to undetectable, I could lower my risk of transmitting the virus to my partner. So at my next doctor's appointment I asked to be placed on medication. I never told my doctor why I wanted the medicine, as I'm sure I would have heard some long lecture about why I shouldn't bareback and blah blah blah.
So I took my meds for a while, but I'm a very impatient person so I never waited to get my follow up labs to see if the medications were even working. I went to the mother of my first three children and we discussed getting back into a relationship and my desire to have children. She knew I was HIV positive and she said it didn't matter to her, that she believed God would take care of her and she wasn't afraid of contracting the virus. Which is a good thing, ideally I wouldn't want anyone to walk around with the constant fear of becoming infected but solely relying on a higher power to keep you from possible consequences is not the path I would suggest HIV negative or positive people to walk.
During sex I tried really hard not to go too fast or to insert too deeply. I didn't want to cause any internal bleeding because HIV transmission can occur more easily with a blood entry way. When I nutted inside of her I was so scared; there was no turning back at this point. To increase the chances of pregnancy we had unprotected sex again two days later. Once again I tried to go very slowly and do anything to prevent tearing of her insides. So for days we kept discussing if what we had done was a good decision. TOO LATE NOW HUH?!?
Three weeks later she received a positive pregnancy result!!! YAAY!!! But what about the other issue ... *bites nails* HIV TEST RESULTS ARE ... NEGATIVE!!! Thank you!! So for the remainder of the pregnancy she continued to get HIV tests and each time she came up negative. So that meant that my child was at no risk of being born with the virus and the mother did not have to take medicine while being pregnant.
Many people do not agree with the method we used to conceive this child, and I admit there are many things I could have done to be less risky. For example, now that I have become more educated on HIV, I would strongly suggest against doing anything life changing such as conceiving a child without knowing your viral load. Talking with your doctor before making these decisions is always an excellent way to make sure you are going about this in a safer manner. I didn't tell my doctor what I was doing for the fear of being chastised or having someone look at me in a negative light. Barebacking while HIV positive isn't exactly condoned by most medical providers. Yet, trusting that your doctor will give you some good information instead of frowning down upon you is a sign that you may have a great client/provider relationship with your doctor.
The point of the blog still remains that it is not impossible to produce an HIV-negative child while HIV positive. As stated earlier, please know all the risks before engaging in such risky behavior.
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Jermaine Wright is a young, black, bisexual father of five who is also living with HIV. Following a period of service in the Army he is now at the Community AIDS Resource and Education Services of Southwest Michigan (CARES) where he promotes Mr. Friendly, a prevention tool used to raise awareness of the stigma associated with HIV. His mission is to reach out to other young black people living with HIV in a safe manner via his YouTube channel, PozLyfe09. For many youth, this is the only place they can go to discuss and share about living with HIV with someone who is open about his status and sexuality. Topics of his videos include: disclosure, dating, fathering a child post HIV diagnosis, passing on the virus, barebacking while HIV positive and more.
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