Can I Be Hiv Positive And My Partner Negative

Can I Be Hiv Positive And My Partner Negative – Finding out your partner has HIV can bring up a range of emotions, but it’s important to know the facts to stay safe.

There are steps you can take to prevent HIV when a partner has contracted the virus.Michela Ravasio/Stocksy

Can I Be Hiv Positive And My Partner Negative

If you are in a new relationship with someone who is HIV-positive, or if you have just found out that your long-term partner is HIV-positive, you may be experiencing a whirlwind of emotions, perhaps fear, sadness or anger, depending on the context. . . . You may be worried about your partner contracting HIV or wondering how living with an HIV-positive person will affect your relationship or daily life.

Facts About Hiv And Aids

As you begin to emotionally adjust to your situation, it’s important to get information about being with a partner who has HIV. Some of the fears about having an HIV-positive partner may be outdated, but there may also be steps you didn’t know you could take to prevent HIV.

Here are some questions you may have if your partner has HIV, and answers from leading experts on the virus.

No, nothing is inevitable. “We have really amazing and very effective ways to prevent HIV in an uninfected partner,” says Dr. Monica Gandhi, professor of medicine and associate director of the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Medicine at the University of San Francisco. Francisco

ART effectively suppresses the virus in an HIV-positive partner. Your partner is taking medication every day. PrEP means that you, the uninfected partner, take a medication every day to protect yourself from HIV. PEP is a drug used after exposure to HIV to prevent infection, but should be taken as soon as possible after exposure.

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Each of these methods is very effective on its own, but there may be situations where it makes sense to combine the methods for even more protection or peace of mind.

Sex is definitely off the table if your partner has HIV, although it’s wise to be cautious until you know your partner’s treatment is clearing the virus. “We want to see that their viral load is consistently undetectable for three months before we say they’re not at risk of transmitting the virus,” says Michael Wohlfeiler, MD, chief medical officer and HIV specialist at the AIDS Institute in South Beach. , Florida.

Until you know your partner’s treatment is working, it’s important to use a condom or take PrEP if you’re having straight or vaginal sex, says Dr. Wohlfeiler. There is little or no risk of contracting HIV through oral sex, including oral and direct contact, although it can theoretically spread if sperm come into contact with an open mouth with sore or bleeding teeth. Therefore, says Dr. Gandhi, “Use PrEP if there are mouth ulcers that can increase the chance of infection,” or use condoms for oral sex until you know your partner’s treatment is working.

Once you have confirmed that your partner’s HIV treatment is eliminating the virus, you should not take other measures (such as condoms or PrEP) or avoid sexual activity to avoid getting HIV from that partner.

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HIV cannot be transmitted through kissing unless you both have open mouth sores or bleeding gums and you don’t kiss a lot. But realistically, “Kissing is perfectly safe,” says Gandhi, because HIV cannot be spread through saliva.

In most practical cases, HIV cannot be spread through food, skin contact, toilets or sharing toothbrushes. There are almost no exceptions in each of these cases, such as the theoretical risk of eating food that someone with HIV has already chewed, mouth sores, or skin contact with sperm and open sores on the skin. This small risk disappears if your partner’s HIV treatment actually eliminates the virus.

An undetectable viral load means that your partner’s treatment (ART) is so effective at eliminating the virus that laboratory tests cannot detect its presence. Achieving this is the overall goal of HIV treatment and can be achieved with any drug regimen. “Most medications now are taken once a day, and we have a significant number that are single pills,” says Wohlfeiler.

If your partner takes his medication consistently and remains undetected in lab tests, he cannot pass HIV to you or anyone else. That’s generally true, although occasionally people forget to take their medication for a day or two, Wohlfeiler says.

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But “when they haven’t taken their medication for a week or more, they can be contagious” for a while, Wohlfeiler says, even if they go undetected at regular appointments. This is why it is so important to follow your HIV treatment plan as prescribed.

If someone with an undetectable viral load continues to take treatment as prescribed, they can expect to remain undetectable indefinitely, Wohlfeiler points out.

Condoms are very effective at preventing HIV transmission when used correctly, but are generally not necessary in a monogamous relationship if your partner’s HIV treatment is successful and you have both been tested for other STDs, such as syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia.

If your relationship is not monogamous, “I would recommend condoms to protect your partner, especially if they don’t know you’re not monogamous because of STD risks [in addition to HIV],” says Gandhi. “Yes, they can be treated, but they can have adverse effects,” including significant discomfort, he says. And of course, condoms help protect you from HIV from other partners.

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PrEP is very effective at preventing HIV transmission, but it is not necessary in a monogamous relationship if your HIV-positive partner is taking his medication as prescribed and has an undetectable viral load. In rare cases, Wohlfeiler says, he will prescribe PrEP in those situations “after discussing the pros and cons of the treatment and from the doctor’s point of view they don’t really need prophylaxis.”

“If someone is undiagnosed or for some reason can’t take their HIV medication every day, I would definitely want the negative person to be on PrEP,” Gandhi says. “Preventive treatment is based on people taking medication and not being diagnosed.

Going on PrEP is also a good idea if your relationship isn’t monogamous and you have sex with different partners frequently, says Wohlfeiler. “If you’re going to have occasional encounters outside of relationships,” he says, “condoms are just as effective at preventing HIV as they are at protecting against other STDs.”

Yes, you should be tested for HIV as long as your doctor recommends it. Depending on your situation, this could be as often as every 3 months or once a year.

Talking To Your Partner About Your Hiv Status

In general, Wohlfeiler recommends testing every 3 to 6 months if you’re having sex outside of your relationship, or once a year if your relationship is monogamous. HIV screening involves a simple blood test at a routine lab or doctor’s visit.

For someone with an HIV-positive partner, “preventive health care is just good,” says Gandhi, even though your risk of contracting HIV from your partner is essentially zero if his viral load remains undetectable.

In addition to providing emotional support when needed, “I think the most important thing you can do to help your partner is to help them take their medication every day,” says Gandhi. “It’s really something that can be helped by working together. This has been confirmed in studies of how people with HIV take their medication.

Wohlfeiler agrees that helping your partner stay on medication is essential for their health and yours. “We recommend everything from cell phone alerts to putting it next to your cereal in the kitchen or on your nightstand to pick up those signals,” she says. “I think the negative partner is often quite proactive in saying, ‘did you take your medicine?’

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