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.

18 comments

  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Theodrick, Many people find themselves in this tough and confusing situation. Telling someone you love that you are HIV positive is not easy. But Simon has already answered a similar question here. He has come up with a number of ways to think about it. I hope this helps you too.

  2. Theodrick

    I’m totally confused as to how to disclose my status to my fiancee since December last year when I was diagnosed of the virus. Can you help me as to how to disclose my status to her and get her also tested?

  3. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Neville, Unfortunately there hasn’t been a trial where HIV positive people were completely cured. But here’s the HIV cure puzzle and a link to more information.

  4. Neville

    I want to understand about the reseach that was made in france when many 500 people who were on treatment and later the reservoir was not detected and one in america has similar situation but the reservoir was detected what could be the influence on this because if out of 100000 cells could not be detected thats that mean they were completely cured. and why the one in america had this left in the system is it gereric or what.

  5. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Neville,

    It’s good news that your lymph is fading away and that you are on Trivenz. Trivenz and Odimune are the same meds but teay are made by different companies – that’s why the name is different.

    Here is the link to viral load results and being undetectable. So the aim of treatment is to get the viral load to undetectable. But to do this HIV meds – like Trivenz – have to be taken every day. It’s good that you are undetectable but it’s not a good idea to stop treatment when that happens.

  6. neville

    At what time could the virus been not detected and what is the evarage cd4 count to be for the virus to be not detected. And is it possible that one could stop treatment when the virus is not dectected and is there a window periods where one can stop medication when the virus is not detected. I have lymph and they are fading away is what does it says to my condition. Am HIV positive and am on trivenz before I was on odimune and what is the difference between the two.

  7. Roy Trevelion

    Dear Mawuli, There is no easy way to tell someone you are positive. But Simon talks about how to go about it here. Talking in general about HIV first can help to get you both talking about it without disclosing straight away.

    You can also look at the PARTNER study because it shows that if you are taking HIV meds and you’re undetectable there is zero risk of transmitting HIV.

  8. Mawuli

    please doctor. I’m totally confused as to how to disclose my status to my fiancee since December last year when I was diagnosed of the virus. Can you help me as to how to disclose my status to her and get her also tested?

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