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Author Topic: Wife tested + I had a few questions  (Read 3958 times)

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Offline justin

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  • Posts: 21
Wife tested + I had a few questions
« on: June 13, 2008, 09:40:24 PM »
Hi all

First off would like to say thanks for a great site
I have learned a lot by reading.

My wife tested + recently. I am negative.
We are newly weds. After her test we saw a doctor & found her CD4 was 318 & VL at 4685
With what little I know it seemed odd to see such a low VL but also a low CD4.
Is this common? I know I read that none know what their CD4 was normally so that could be a big factor.ie: maybe her normal CD4 was low?
Also would these low numbers suggest her infection is not that old? Or do they have no correlation?
Anyway from there they put her on Atripla. We were worried but went ahead. She tolerated it really well & was only sick the first week a few times. Waking at night with nausea & vomiting but that was it. All is well now.
Her one month retest shows the VL as undetectable & her CD4 is 454 so looks like she is moving in the right direction.

She was very devastated initially understandably but is doing very well now. I reassure her often & she knows I love her to pieces.
I wondered if there were many spouses of infected patients posting here?

Last but not least.........As I said I am negative but........I admit I do not follow the safe practices I should. I know I should but I am 50 & never have been able to use a condom....I have tried trust me I have used many many brands all are absolute feeling killers for me. I just cannot feel a thing if I use one. Is there any hope in this department? Is there any condom I have not heard of?

Anyway just wanted to ask those questions about CD4 & VL etc. Also would love to hear from other spouses. I have not seen any posts of a husband with a infected wife.

PS: with her VL at zero is the risk of normal vaginal sex also reduced to near zero?

Thank You



Offline aztecan

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,384
  • 29 years positive, 56 years a pain in the butt
Re: Wife tested + I had a few questions
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2008, 01:53:19 AM »
Hi Justin,

Welcome to the forums, though I'm sorry for the reason you've joined in. 

Regarding your wife's having been recently infected, judging by the CD4 and viral load, she has had the virus for a while.

Normally, when people are initially infected, it isn't unusual for them to have a lower CD4, but the viral load is usually high, sometimes startlingly so. This is because the body has not yet begun to fight back and the virus is reproducing without hindrance.

Note I said usually, because individual cases can vary a great deal.

Most of us here who have lived with the bug for a long time have come to the conclusion the "when" the infection occurred is pretty much unimportant. What is important in your wife's case is her viral load is now undetectable, which is the goal we all chase after, and her CD4s are on the rise. Both of these results are good news, so I think a celebratory hug and happy dance are in order for you both.

Regarding safer sex and condoms, first let me clear up one misconception you have brought up. While your wife's viral load is undetectable, that doesn't mean she has zero HIV in her blood.

Undetectable, depending on which test is used, could mean either less than 400 or less than 50 viral copies per cubic milliliter of blood. There is still some virus in the bloodstream, but there are too few copies to count using current methods.

The bloodstream isn't the only place HIV lives. It also is found in the brain and central nervous system, the lymphatic system and, of course, in the gut (small intestine), where the majority of the human body's immune defenses are located.,

You probably should be using a condom during sex, although an undetectable viral load decreases the chances of your becoming infected. It doesn't eliminate it, but it does decrease it.

You say using condoms is a difficulty for you. Lordy, do I know the feeling - or lack thereof.

We are the same age and I came from a time when condom use was simply not necessary because, as a gay man, we didn't worry about such things as pregnancy.

Of course, I caught the bug, but, se le vie.

One way to help you get used to condoms is to masterbate with them Seriously, it is one of the harm reduction methods we use to help people get used to using condoms.

It worked for me. There was a time when the mere sight of a condom would cause Mad Max to go limp as leftover linguine.

After some practice though, I have found some condoms actually enhance the experience. Now, it feels absolutely strange to play around, either with or without another person, without one.

Give it a shot, It couldn't hurt. Hope this helps.

HUGS,

Mark
« Last Edit: June 14, 2008, 01:58:08 AM by aztecan »
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline madbrain

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    • My personal site
Re: Wife tested + I had a few questions
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2008, 03:29:33 AM »
Hi Justin,

Sorry about your wife testing poz.
Comments inline.

We are newly weds.

Congratulations on getting married !

Quote
After her test we saw a doctor & found her CD4 was 318 & VL at 4685
With what little I know it seemed odd to see such a low VL but also a low CD4.
Is this common? I know I read that none know what their CD4 was normally so that could be a big factor.ie: maybe her normal CD4 was low?
Also would these low numbers suggest her infection is not that old? Or do they have no correlation?

In truth, you just cannot tell when the infection happened from looking at the numbers. She became infected sometime between her last negative test (less 3 months) and her current positive test. If this was her first HIV test, that will make it much more difficult to figure out when it happen. Assuming that she got it from a sexual encounter (as opposed to transfusion or needle stick), she will have to research her sexual history to figure it out.

The CD4 doesn't tell that much as far as timing unless you had a pre-HIV CD4 count to compare it to. The normal range of CD4 is between 500-1500 according to Kaiser. Big range. Then, the rate of CD4 loss varies greatly. While the the majority of people loses some small percentage of tcells each year after infection, some unlucky ones lose half to nearly all of them in the first year of infection, also.

My boyfriend had roughly the same numbers as your wife did (CD4 300, VL 4000) right after he tested positive in November of 2006. His CD4% was 13, which meant he had AIDS technically. He had tested negative in May of the same year.

My very first VL, in November of 2006, was only a very low 698 . When I showed up at the support group with those numbers, they said it was like nothing. Yet I had been infected recently, since my last negative test was in June of 2006. My VL did not shoot way up like some expect it would right after infection.

I just met someone else who was recently diagnosed and infected (last negative test in december), and he had even worse initial CD4 numbers - in the 200s. But his VL is still relatively low at 8000. Like me and my bf, his last negative HIV test was within six months of his positive time.

Quote
Her one month retest shows the VL as undetectable & her CD4 is 454 so looks like she is moving in the right direction.

Yes, that is good progress. My bf has yet to get a CD4 that high.

Quote
She was very devastated initially understandably but is doing very well now. I reassure her often & she knows I love her to pieces.
I wondered if there were many spouses of infected patients posting here?

Well. I am not technically married to my bf yet. But with the recent California supreme court decision, it may happen in the future. Regardless of the legal definition, I consider him my spouse. So yes, there are spouses of infected patients.

Quote
Last but not least.........As I said I am negative but........I admit I do not follow the safe practices I should. I know I should but I am 50 & never have been able to use a condom....I have tried trust me I have used many many brands all are absolute feeling killers for me. I just cannot feel a thing if I use one. Is there any hope in this department? Is there any condom I have not heard of?

Try lifestyles if you haven't yet.
It's true that it doesn't feel the same with a condom than without. And it is difficult to adjust to using one when one is not used to it. My bf and I are struggling with that - the doctor told us to use them, even though we are both positive.

But I think getting past the psychological factor first is important. Ie. the reason why you are using a condom as opposed to the condom itself. That may be more important.

Quote
PS: with her VL at zero is the risk of normal vaginal sex also reduced to near zero?

The VL is undetectable by the test, it is not zero. The sensitivity of the best tests is usually 50 or 75 copies these days.
There was a swiss meta-study that said an undetectable VL means no transmission risk. But I wouldn't trust my life on it.

That said, I'm certainly no expert on vaginal sex (I've never had it ;), but I think that for vaginal sex, the risk of HIV transmission from female to male is normally lower than male to female. When it comes to anal sex, the recipient is more at risk, but the transmission is much easier than vaginal sex in either direction.

Offline Dragonette

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Re: Wife tested + I had a few questions
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2008, 04:35:32 AM »
hi & Welcome Justin,

I have been diagnosed for 2 years also with a relatively low CD4 & VL (77 & 20,000) and have also heard that its probabaly a long infection esp since my last negative test before this one was 10 years old.
But I dont really know how I got HIV and thats a strange narrative to live with - I have had unprotected sex with 3 men none of which I know to be poz - but I guess you get used to it, to not knowing I mean.

I'm in a relationship with a neg guy and we use condoms. I have always used condoms (except with the 3 guys I mentioned, but even with them, used them most of the time) b/c I was not able to take oral contraception. And I used to really try to get the expensive "featherlite" I beleive they are called, the really thin ones, no latex, etc etc. they were costly as well. Now though, I live in the Netherlands and we get subsidised condoms from a safe sex organization, and they are really cheap and really good. So maybe you have something like that in your area. Unfortunately I cant find them online at all.
I think using condoms might take be very bothersome initially (but not necessarily forever, as Mark said) but it's totally worth it for the peace of mind. Of course, there could likely be more and more substantial evidence in the future of us women being virtually uninfectious when undetectable (my doctor thinks so) . But right now, I prefer to use condoms. This could change when more studies are published though.

And...
Congratulations on your marriage!
"If you keep one foot in yesterday, and one in tomorrow, you piss all over today". Betty Tacy

Offline justin

  • Member
  • Posts: 21
Re: Wife tested + I had a few questions
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2008, 02:45:59 PM »
Hi all & thank you for all the replies.

Sorry I guess I posted in the wrong section initially.

I am glad to hear you are all doing good & glad to hear from other couples.

Interesting info about the CD4 & VL numbers too.

I will make an effort to try all the good suggestions about condoms & see. I know
I should & have only this poor reason why I do not. Many times in my mind I just think
if my wife is positive it does not matter if I am also positive eventually but..............
logically I know it is far better to stay healthy for her sake too. None know what the future will bring & I want to be there for her,

Thank You all again for your taking the time to respond!

Offline Prestige

  • Member
  • Posts: 8
Re: Wife tested + I had a few questions
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2008, 06:24:55 AM »
If I may say so, I would be very carefull with making my wife quildy that she infekted me with HIV, so do try condoms!! One infekted in a family is enough if you get positive to you would only do thinks worst. Iam possitive and my wife negatve, and we have sex ONLY with condoms and no oral whatsoever ( docktors suggestion) of course it is not the same, but I can tell you one think it is much much better know 6 months after the first time,
take care

 


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