Apr 10, 2013
I hope you are well. I have already written you in one occasion and you did give me very good insights and advice - than you for that!. However, ever since your response, I have remained with a big doubt that Id appreciate if you clarified.
My partner is HIV + and I am negative. As soon as he was diagnosed, he initiated treatment and after one year ( probably earlier ) his VL is undetectable ( yupi ! ). Since we met, we have never practiced unprotected sex and had never had an incident. I get tested every 6 months and so far so good. He only performs unprotected oral sex on me ( Im a female ). Now my question... what does it exactly mean that for someone under treatment the probability of transmission is reduced by 96%? I have tried to understand the statement from a statistical point of view, and frankly I dont get my head around it. 1. Does this mean that out of 100 unprotected encounters with someone that is HIV+ under treatment, there is only a probability of 4% to get infected? 2. or that out of 100 protected encounters with someone that is HIV+ under treatment, there is only a probability of 4% to get infected?
Basically what I'm trying to find out is whether for a discordant couple like me using condoms correct and consistently every single time ( I also make always sure that there was no leakage ), there is any chances of contracting HIV. And if there is any, why would this be?
The terror I go through every time I get tested is something that is seriously affecting me and thus I need to exactly know what my risks are regardless of all the prevention means in place.
Response from Ms. Southall
Hi I'm happy to hear that answering your questions has helped with clarity for your situation. The statement of having an undetectable viral load reduces the risk of HIV transmission by up to 96% means that risk of HIV transmission with unprotected sex may happen 4% of the time, but using a condoms are effective in the prevention of HIV transmission, as long as they are used correctly and do not break or slip off.
My husband gets tested too about every 6 months and I know that my stomach churns during this time. But the thing we know is that we are doing everything to maintain his negative status and with all the studies showing that having an undetectable viral load and condom use we know and feel comfortable that he will remain so. My wish for you is to get to a point of not having the "terror" feeling when it's time to be tested because you know that you are doing everything to protect yourself and loving your partner.
Be well and stay safe, Shannon www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/Q22893
"How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world."
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