Q and A

Question

Why is my husband HIV negative when I am pregnant and HIV positive?

Hi , I am 36, married, and pregnant and have just found out that I am HIV positive, with CD4 of 239.

My question is I never get sick or have any symptoms that I am infected, so now I am worried that I maybe too late to start treatment, because they told me that I need to start when my CD4 count is about 350.

My mind still adjusting to the news cos its only weeks find out I am positive but I have the reason to live that is why I accept that life goes on, its the matter of changing lifestyle and live good healthy life style.

My other worry is that my husband tested 6 months ago and he said he tested negative, checking from that time do you think he lied to me about his result because now I six month pregnant and positive. Is it possible to check when I became HIV positive?

Answer

Thank you for your question.

As you asked a number of questions, I will respond to them one at a time.

Firstly, congratulations on your pregnancy.

Although it might be difficult to learn you are HIV positive, it is much better that you found out now. Earlier is always better both for your health and for your baby. You are also right in taking a positive attitude about your life.

Even though your CD4 count is less than 350, you will still get a good response to HIV treatment (ART). The meds will help get you CD4 count become higher again and will protect the baby from HIV. The meds will also protect your husband from HIV in the future. Also, since 2015, ART is recommended for everyone, even at CD4 counts above 500.

Starting ART is important, so that your viral load can become undetectable when your baby is due to be born. This is because having an undetectable viral load is the best way for your baby to be HIV negative.

This guide to HIV and pregnancy has lots more information.

If your husband was HIV positive 6 months ago, it might be good for him to test again now. There is a small chance that he might have recently become HIV positive but that the test didn’t work. He might also really be HIV negative and has just continued to be lucky.

There are many couples were one partner is HIV positive, and the other is HIV negative, even when they haven’t been using condoms. Please follow this link for more information on such cases.

More information on sero-different couples (where one partner is HIV positive and the other is negative) is at this link. The answers to Q 5, 6 and 9 at this link might also help:
http://i-base.info/qa/what-are-the-most-asked-questions

Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and please let us know if we can help further or again in the future.

Note: This answer was updated in January 2018 and July 2016 from a question first posted online in November 2011.

103 comments

  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Mark,
    i-Base doesn’t have resources to answer questions on testing and transmissions. But all frequently asked questions about this are here.

  2. Mark

    My girlfriend got tested for hiv when she found out she was pregnant. She’s hiv negative. I haven’t been tested but does this mean that I most likely am hiv negative as well?

  3. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Memike,
    The answer is yes – if your husband is on HIV treatment (ART). ART is not only good for your husband’s health, but once viral load has been undetectable for a few months, HIV is not transmittable – even without using condoms. Please see this link for more info and follow the links in the answer.

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *