Q and A

Question

Is there medication i can take to protect myself from HIV transmission?

Someone I’m seeing is HIV positive and undetectable I’m negative. Will his treatment stop the virus from spreading if we have unprotected sex ? Also I’m from the UK and was wondering if there is any medication available what I can take that will allow me to have unprotected sex and not have to worry about getting HIV?,

Answer

The fact he is on treatment and has an undetectable viral load means there is very little chance of transmission taking place. The risk of this is close to zero. His treatment protects you from transmission.

We know this because of a study called PARTNER. It looked at couples like yours with one positive and one negative partner. The positive partner was on treatment with an undetectable viral load. Couples on the study had sex without condoms over 44,500 times. There were no transmissions.

It isn’t available on the NHS yet but there is medication you can take that will protect you even more. This is called PrEP or pre exposure prophylaxis. Again the NHS doesn’t provide this but it can be legally bought and imported off of the internet.

It is important to make sure you are getting it from a reliable source. The iwantprepnow website has excellent information about this.

4 comments

  1. Roy Trevelion

    All HIV combinations (ART) quickly reduce viral load. ART starts working from the first dose and viral load is usually reduced by 90% (also referred to as 1 log) within the first few days. It then continues to fall but not as quickly until it becomes undetectable.

    It’s good that you’ve started ART, and that your CD4 count is strong.

    You can find out more about how quickly your VL becomes undetectable on this similar Q&A:
    http://i-base.info/qa/4669

  2. zaza

    i’m Hiv + CD4 is 418, i started treatment (Atroiza) two weeks ago. My question is how long does it take for my VL to be undetectable?

  3. Simon Collins

    Hi Sindiswa

    Great that you are planning a baby.

    Because your viral load is undetectable you can have sex without a condom to conceive naturally.

    Please tlak to yor doctor about your plans that you get other support and tests that can help.

    See this guide for more information:
    http://i-base.info/guides/pregnancy

    It is great that your husband has started Truvada. This might help him feel more condifent if he is worried about catching HIV.

    Actually the risk is already close to zero for him, so using PrEP is not necessary – but you can can start try for a baby whenever you want to.

  4. sindiswa

    I m hiv+ and my viral load is undetected, my husband is negative we want a baby what can we do. My husband started Truvada today – how long to we need to wait?

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