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Lost in Translation

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jojodiablo:
Hello all,

   I have been reading the forums for quite some time now, but just finally decided to register and make a post. I am currently in a relationship with a man I love more than anything, and he is Poz, while I am Neg. He has been Poz for over 10 years and is on meds. (Which meds I am not quite sure of) I have done some extensive research on life styles and anything he may be going through and so on, so if the need arises I can be there for anything he may need. But as I am sure anyone who is in a relationship with a partner that is Poz and you are not you’re self, you always have the fear in the back of your mind, what happens if this time I test positive. I get tested every 3 months and have for many years.  We use protection every time and we are very, very safe at what we do, but from my research I still have a one in 684 chance every time we get between the sheets. I have attempted to voice my concern to him but, the one time I have asked him what you would do if you infected me, he started to cry and I dropped the subject. (And he is not one to cry about anything).  I guess all I am asking for here is some guidance and some more information on how to cope with this. He is very open and we can communicate about anything, but I feel like I am on thin ice when I want to bring it up, as I never want to see him hurting, physically or emotionally. So any advice on how to cope/bring the subject up would be much appreciated.

md:
Jojo, I don't know where you got that "1 in 684" number from but whenever I hear something like that I feel obliged to remind people that 83.76% of all statistics are made up (including that last one ... joke ;-)

Seriously, it really isn't that easy to get infected provided that you don't do anything unsafe.

This isn't scientific evidence, but -  my best guess is that my partner was infected with HIV about 10 years before he was diagnosed - we were having sex throughout that 10 year period and about the only thing we *didn't* do was to have unprotected intercourse - and at the end of it I am still negative.

It is great that you can communicate with your partner, and it is OK to voice your concerns, but try to understand how he feels also - asking how he would feel if he infected you isn't really expressing your concerns - it sounds a lot more like an accusation, and I can see why he could have found it immensely hurtful.

Communication is a two way street - perhaps you need to start by listening to him and trying ti understand what his fears an anxieties are before you try to express yours. Whatever you do, don't give up - yes the ice is sometimes very thin and it may crack again, but if that happens try to understand *why* it happened and learn from it ...

Ann:
Hi Jojo,

As long as you're using condoms every time you have intercourse, you'll be fine. A correctly used condom rarely breaks - have a look through the three condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use them with confidence.

There have been long-term studies of couples where one was poz and the other neg. In the couples who always used condoms for intercourse, not one of the negative partners ended up positive. Not one. These studies involved hundreds of couples, some of them being followed for as many as ten years. Condoms really do prevent hiv infection.

As your partner is doing well on meds, this will also lower any risk to you. Have a look at this thread:

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=17932.0

Hope that helps and if you have any further questions, fire away.

Ann

jojodiablo:
Thank you all for your kind words of wisdom, and the information. Yes i know the words that i said were hurtful at first and i did realise that after and i did appolgise to him. I know i am at somewhat of a risk just by being with him, but it is worth it in my eyes, i just wanted to know my lvl. of risk.

md:
Life is full of risks.

Some of them, such as the risk of being injured while crossing the road or driving to work, are so common and familiar that we hardly think about them. One reason is because, for these common activities, we have a lot of personal data about the number of times we have engaged in these activities without anything bad happening to us.

The problem comes when we are confronted with something that is new or unfamiliar to us, such as the possibility of being killed in a terrorist attack, or of contracting HIV while having protected sex with an HIV+ person.

The key to dealing with that kind of unknown is to try to put it into perspective and rank it appropriately alongside all of the other risks that you take on a daily basis.

This is a very personal thing and will depend on a lot of individual factors but, for what it is worth, here is how I personally rank some common risks, from most to least risky:

- having a heart attack within the next 10 years (I am 52 with a family history of heart problems)
- being seriously injured in a traffic accident (I drive about 20,000 miles a year)
- being seriously injured in an earthquake (I live in Northern California)
- being in a plane crash (I fly between 50,000 and 100,00 miles a year)
- being killed in a terrorist attack (this one just isn't worth worrying about ...)

I rank my risk of HIV infection when having protected sex with an HIV+ individual as somewhere between the earthquake and the plane crash - neither of which are things that I worry about particularly, although I *do* have an earthquake preparedness kit, and I *do* always make sure I know where the emergency exits are on the plane ...

I don't know whether you will find this helpful or not, but this is how I think about these things.






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