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Main Forums => Someone I Care About Has HIV => Topic started by: Jim Allen on May 26, 2018, 11:36:35 am

Title: "Ari96"
Post by: Jim Allen on May 26, 2018, 11:36:35 am
Note: Posted on behalf of member Ari96 from email.


    My boyfriend of 11 months recently told me about a month ago that heís HIV positive. Been positive since birth. Heís 23 and Iím 21 weíre both at the same university. Weíve never had sex. Both virgins and usually deep French kiss and occasional hand jobs. He told me, that around November last year he stopped taking his drugs for about two months due to the fact that the ones he had where expired and his been in denial about his status and he just wanted a break. He got into hospital around late December and was diagnosed with anemia and Ulcerative Colitis. Beginning of January he started taking his drugs and has been on his drugs since. So he tells me. Despite him keeping his status from me for so long and putting me at risk by not taking his drugs, I decided to stay with him because I love him and I want us to be together. After telling me about his status last month, we decided to both go for an HIV test just to make sure I was fine. I came back negative and he came back positive. We went to the doctors for his review on Thursday and it was discovered that his viral load is high 9138 copies to be exact. And his CD4 absolute count was 546 and CD4 percentage was 20%. My question is, how bad is his viral load? When it comes to being infectious. And should we stop deep French kissing? At least until his viral load goes down? The doctor suggested I get on prep, when we decided to start having sex. How long Iím I supposed to be on prep? Is it like ARV where I take them for the rest of my life if we decided to get married? Or is it like a course like malaria tablets that I need to stop at some point. Should I get on prep even though weíre not having sex for our kissing? Iím trying to be as safe as possible. Me not knowing about how safe I am is really putting a strain on our relationship and I really want us to work. Your response to my burning questions would be really helpful. Thankyou.

P.S I tried looking for where I could post my question but I couldnít find it on my account. Sorry, new member. Totally fine with you sharing it.

Title: Re: "Ari96"
Post by: Jim Allen on May 26, 2018, 11:57:03 am

Normally I would not but I have posted your email and sent you a link to this page.
Please see here how to login and use the forum: https://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=68057.0 . Once you login please only reply in this thread for now. Thanks.

Kissing, deep, rough, high or low VL or otherwise, is simply not a risk for acquiring HIV. Not only is saliva not infectious, but it also contains over a dozen different proteins and enzymes that damage hiv and render it unable to infect.

That said I agree with your doctors to start PrEP. My main reason to say that is relationships move on and develop and sex happens in relationships and its not always planned for.

Life tends to be like that and I think you need to focus on yourself and protect yourself beforehand, so that when you are ready you are already reducing your risks.

Use condoms when/if any intercourse happens and take the PrEP as additional layer of protection to better protected yourself.


P.S Ill add as I know may HIV Positive peers eyes are rolling at me right now as I did not mentioned something called U=U. (Undetectable = Untransmittable)

Look your BF has a few big red flags, he has been inconsistent with his (LIFE SAVING) meds leading to a VL rebound and he wanted a break from it and has denial issues .... I could post an entire page on this alone but the short of it is:

Yes, you need to protect yourself!

I can't guarantee and from the story he is not reached a level of treatment that his vial load is so low it called "undetectable" and this requires strict adherent to meds something he also has not kept up. I keep telling people that trust does not prevent transmission. So my advice is not to rely on him taking his meds and instead to focus on protecting yourself.

As educational piece only, if the he does get onto treatment (TaSP - Treatment as prevention) and reaches undetectable for more than 6 months and stays on treatment with excellent adherence its true than its good as TaSP is pretty amazing when it comes down to reducing HIV transmission risks.

For your information/education:
Treatment-as-prevention (TasP) this is use of antiretroviral (ARV) medication to decrease the risk of HIV transmission. Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP)
HIV TasP (https://www.poz.com/basics/hiv-basics/treatmentasprevention-tasp)

This has been studied at length and to mention 1 of the studies as an example the "Partner" study is a major study looking at the chances of transmitting HIV with an undetectable viral load, there have been no transmissions between either gay or heterosexual serodiscordant partners.

Partner study
transmission-zero (https://www.poz.com/article/transmission-zero-25241-4476)

More recent: Zero, No Linked HIV Transmissions in PARTNER Study After Couples Had Sex 58,000 Times Without Condoms: Click here for more information (http://www.thebodypro.com/content/77903/zero-no-linked-hiv-transmissions-in-partner-study-.html?ic=wnhp)

Finally the consensus statement http://www.preventionaccess.org/consensus

People living with HIV on ART with an undetectable viral load in their blood have a negligible risk of sexual transmission of HIV.  Depending on the drugs employed it may take as long as six months for the viral load to become undetectable. Continued and reliable HIV suppression requires selection of appropriate agents and excellent adherence to treatment. HIV viral suppression should be monitored to assure both personal health and public health benefits.

NOTE:   An undetectable HIV viral load only prevents HIV transmission to sexual partners. Condoms also help prevent HIV transmission as well as other STIs and pregnancy. The choice of HIV prevention method may be different depending upon a personís sexual practices, circumstances and relationships. For instance, if someone is having sex with multiple partners or in a non-monogamous relationship, they might consider using condoms to prevent other STIs.
Title: Re: "Ari96"
Post by: Ari96 on May 26, 2018, 12:19:24 pm
Thankyou So much Jim, your advice and insight has been greatly helpful for me. Atleast Iím lightheaded now. Still need to read a lot on the subject to get fully educated on it.
Title: Re: "Ari96"
Post by: Jim Allen on May 26, 2018, 12:38:18 pm
You're welcome

A good starting place would be in the lessons normally we encourage newly diagnosed to read them. It has digestible lessons on topics from "What is HIV, Newly diagnosed, Living with HIV and prevention: https://www.poz.com/basics/hiv-basics

I placed your post here in the "Am I infected" section as your initial questions looked to be between exposure and prevention questions, however if you ever have questions regarding supporting your BF in anyway you are also welcome to post in "Someone I care about" section of the forum (Found here https://forums.poz.com/index.php?board=17.0 )

Take it easy

Title: Re: "Ari96"
Post by: Ari96 on June 08, 2018, 06:07:47 am
Hello Jim, hereís a follow up on my boyfriend and Iís situation. After finding out that my boyfriends viral load was high, I advised him to take another viral load test because the results he got where the blood tests taken 2months earlier. So he got another one last week and weíve found out that this viral load has multiplied X3. Getting into around 30000. His been taking his drugs, everyday. Now I donít know what to do from here because I honestly feel hopeless. Clearly the medication has stopped working cause his viral load isnít going down. And I know that if his viral load is high it means my levels of safety are also quite low. Which is making me very uneasy. And also I want him to get better. What exactly can we do to make sure his at his best? And is there anyway his viral load can go down?
Title: Re: "Ari96"
Post by: Jim Allen on June 08, 2018, 06:19:10 am
The short version of this is rather simple, he is either not taking his medication (No matter what he claims or says) or his HIV has now become resistant to his current medication.

He needs to work with his HIV consultant to get this sorted and back on track. They will most likely need to check for resistance and if there is resistance a change of medication might be required and than he needs to start taking his meds correctly and being truly adherent going forward.   

If you ask me you need to protect yourself and if you are staying in this relationship, like I said last time and similar to what your doctor said start PrEP as additional layer of protection and of course use condoms if any intercourse occurs.


PS I am also moving your thread to "Someone I care about" so others can chime in on your boyfriend and his treatment issues.