Genetics is also related to the risk of catching HIV. Some genes are protective and some genes increase the risk. The same genes affect how fast HIV progresses in an HIV positive person.
Some genes are protective and some genes increase the risk. The same genes affect how fast HIV progresses in an HIV positive person.
For example, a genetic mutation called a CCR5 delta-32 deletion, protects against some types of HIV. Less than 1% of people may have these genes but this is not something that is easy to test.
Tests are expensive and only available in research studies.
Also, up to 10% of new infections are with a type of HIV (called CXCR4) that overcomes this protection.
Most people who think they are protected because of their genetics have actually just been lucky.
Just as genes can protect against infection, genes can also increase the risk. You and your partner have different genes.
Although some viruses can be more infectious, individual immune responses have a bigger impact on HIV transmission.
You cannot change your genes (or your immune system) so this is both an unknown and fixed risk factor.
If viral load is undetectable, there is no risk of HIV, whatever your genes.
PrEP also protects against HIV, whatever your genes.
Last updated: 1 June 2021.