Q and A

Question

I am an HIV positive man, can I have a baby?

I am very much interested to know if someone with a CD4 count of above 500 and an undetectable viral load can make a woman pregnant without infecting her with the virus?

Or does it mean once you have HIV your chance of having your own child is a dead end?

Or is there any other way to have your own child without infecting either the woman or the child?

Answer

Being HIV positive should not stop you having a baby. Many sero-different couples (where one partner is positive and the other is negative), have had healthy HIV negative babies.

Your second question was whether it is possible to have an HIV negative baby without passing HIV onto your your girlfriend or baby. The answer is yes. However, this will depend on a number of factors.

Firstly, you would have to on antiretroviral treatment (ART) with an undetectable viral load. Are you taking treatment?

Secondly, both of you should be checked for STIs (Sexually Transmitted infections). This is good practice whenever two people are planning a pregnancy. STIs can sometimes increase the risk of passing on HIV to your negative partner.

Thirdly, the chance of conceiving is highest when your girlfriend is ovulating. Ovulation takes place in the middle of the woman’s monthly cycle. This is about 14 days before her period.

This link the the pregancny guide to is about how sero-different couples can conceive naturally. The guide also lists other conception options.

You may also find it useful to read the Swiss Statement. This describes the transmission risk for someone who is on stable HIV treatment as ‘negligible’ and ‘similar to risks of daily life’. It is difficult to put a percentage risk on this.

When you and your girlfriend decide you are ready to have a baby,  you should speak to your doctor who will be to advise and assist you accordingly.

Good luck with your plans.

This answer was updated in January 2016 from a question posted on 26 March 2012.

22 comments

  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Sencon.

    Though you were diagnosed with a CD4 count of 264 this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve been living with HIV for a long time. Its common that someone can have had HIV for only a short time and their CD4 count can be like this. This is also the same for some people who may have been positive for 10 years, not on medication and with a CD4 that is high. It varies from person to person.

    Its not possible for anyone to say when someone contracted HIV, or for how long they’ve had it from their CD4 count.Only the person who is positive can ever truly know this.

    If you tested negative when you were pregnant, then that would suggest that at that time you were negative.

    Your doctor suggesting that your daughter be tested is a precautionary measure. When will you get the results back?

  2. Sencon

    I recently found out I am HIV positive, in December. This month I had the courage to go to the DR so that I can start treatment. My CD4 count is 264, and my DR was concerned and said that I might have had the Virus for long. I have accepted, however my concern is my daughter who is 2 years old, at the time I was pregnant in 2015 I tested negative and gave birth in 2016 and breastfeed for 2-3 months,they told me to have her tested just to be sure. What are the chances that she might be positive? This is really stressing me, I have to collect the results. On her road to health book on 6 and 14 weeks check up, it is written not exposed under HIV. But I am told that Is based on my results, I am trying to recall if I was ever tested for HIV after giving birth or the results is based on my old results while I was pregnant.Please help it is driving me insane because my daughter is growing fine and has never been ill.

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