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.

86 comments

  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Thabo,
    Angelina has answered a similar question here. She says, “It is very common for someone to still be negative even if they have not been using condoms with someone who is HIV positive.”

  2. Thabo

    Hi there,

    I had unprotected sex with my former ex and she’s now 4months pregnant and she tested positive and am negative. I Just want to find out if this is possible because now I have doubts if the kid is mine.

  3. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Travis, i-Base doesn’t have resources to answer questions about testing. But here’s a link to the frequently asked testing questions.

  4. Travis

    Please i need your response, i’m currently in Cyprus, i done medical for my resident permit, i was tested hiv positive at near east hospital, have gone to do the test again
    at Kolan British Hospital At Goneyeli and girne even ulun labouratory behind hangover dereboyo it was all negative only near east was saying positive, am very confused please i need your response

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Zola,

    Being on ARVs will reduce the risk of transmission to your baby, so its great that you’re on meds. There’s more about HIV and pregnancy here:

    http://i-base.info/guides/pregnancy

    With regards to your partner, because you were having sex with him before you started meds, and before your viral load became undetectable, (that is if it is) there is a chance that he is also positive. Though you may be worried to tell him, for the sake of his own health he needs to know. He needs to be given the chance to test.

    There is a possibility that he may not be positive, but if he is he’ll need to be on medication.

    Yes there is a chance that you could lose him, however he may also be able to understand why you choose not to tell him.

    Its up to you what you decide to do, but think about how you would feel if he’d kept this from you.

  6. Zola

    I find out on 2013 am HIV positive and my CD4 was 550 I didn’t take the medication coz it’s was high,from then I never dated or sleep with any man till 2015 I find a man I fall in love with we start using condoms couple of days then we stopped,I was selfish I was afraid of loosing him so I didn’t tell him,now we find out that we pregnant am 4 and a half now still am afraid to tell him and I started medication now to protect our baby but we still having sex without a condom.i just wanted to ask does our baby safe from this virus and his,the problem is that he doesn’t trust me from the beginning coz he has trust issues please help me

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