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.

58 comments

  1. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Esther,

    There’s good news for you and your partner. That is that you can have a baby and also protect your partner from HIV. But you must be taking HIV treatment (ART) first. Please read more at this link. So your viral load result must be undetectable on ART before you try for a baby.

    Is it your HIV meds that are causing these side effects? If so, you can talk to your doctor and ask if there are other meds that will be easier for you to take. This is important if your meds are making it difficult for you to do your work.

    Do you have access to your viral load and CD4 count results? Please let us know what they are. And also tell us what HIV meds you are taking.

    Here’s the guide to HIV pregnancy and women’s health for more info.

  2. Esther

    Hi, Am Esther from Kenya and am 22 years old, am HIV positive and my partner is negative ,,, please help us we are planning to have a child from July this year I will be 23,,,, and am in a medical treatment, like one week ago, and this treatment have side effects, like more sleep , more laziness, more sweating at night,,, and I work as a house girl to support my family,, like my brothers and sisters at school ,,,,,, any one with help, I don’t want. My partner to left me please

  3. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Gugs,

    The good news is, Yes you can have a baby and remain HIV negative. But your husband has to use HIV treatment (ART).

    If your viral load is undetectable on ART then this stops HIV transmission – even if you don’t use condoms. Please see Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) for more info. The Partner study showed there were no linked HIV transmissions when couples had sex 58,000 times without condoms when the positive partner was on ART and undetectable.

    This way it is easy and safe for you to conceive naturally. And for you to give birth to negative baby.

  4. Gugs

    Hi I’m 37years my husband he’s HIV positive can i be pregnant and remain negative we want the baby so badly. Please help.

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Anna,

    You’re negative because your partner is on medication. Please see here: http://i-base.info/u-equals-u/
    Your baby won’t be at risk because you aren’t positive.

  6. anna

    I’m 30 HIV negative pregnant and my partner is HIV positive for 9 years he’s drinking the treatment very well and I was doing unprotected sex sometimes but when I visit to the clinic for testing for HIV they always say I’m negative and now I’m pregnant my baby will get the chance of getting HIV positive?

  7. Lisa Thorley
  8. viktor

    Hello Im Viktor
    im Hiv positive but i want to have a baby.

  9. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Lauren,

    It’s good that you’ve been taking ART since 2010. That’s because if your viral load is undetectable, at less than 50 copies m/L, you can’t transmit HIV. Even if you don’t use condoms.

    You can find much more info at this link to Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U).

    And here’s the guide to HIV pregnancy and women’s health.

    I hope this info will help you explain that you can give him a kid.

  10. Lauren

    Hi my name is Lauren I’m 22 yrs old ,I’m on treatment since 2010 .Me and my boyfriend just got engaged and he wants too have a kid worse thing is we have nvr had sex before because I’m scared tht he might get infected and I don’t know how too tell him that I’m HIV positive and I can’t give him a kid.

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