Q and A

Question

I am HIV negative, my girlfriend is positive. Can we have a baby?

I’m currently dating this woman who has HIV and hepatitis B. She didn’t
tell me she had this. We didn’t have sex as she didn’t want to.

So a couple months went by. We were at her house. Then she told me she had HIV and hepatitis B. I didn’t know what to say or do. She takes care of herself by taking her meds and eats right.

She says her count is low. I still don’t know what that means. But anyways, I’ve grown to love and want a future with her.

We had sex a few times after she told me. I used protection. But I love this woman. And I want to marry her someday. And have kids with her.

She had boyfriends before we met and they never got infected.

My question is. Her count is low and if don’t use protection can I get infected. And what about the day I marry her and we want to have kids?

How do we make this happen without me getting infected?

I really love this woman. Please help I’m confused.

Answer

Firstly it is really good that you love and support and want to start a family with your girlfriend. Modern HIV treatment means this is all easy to do.

Many sero-different couples (where one is HIV positive and the other is not) decide to do have children and their partners and babies are HIV negative.

Can you please confirm whether you were referring to her CD4 count or her viral load.

CD4 and viral load tests are tests that are used to monitor the health of people living with HIV. CD4 tests measure a person’s immune system. Results are usually given as cells (per cubic mm). Above 500 is considered normal, but above 350  is still very good.

Viral load tests tell you how much virus there is in your body.  If someone is on treatment, viral load tests also show how well the treatment is working. The aim of treatment is to get the viral load to undetectable (below 50 copies). If therefore you were referring to your girlfriend as having an undetectable viral load, then this is good.

You mention that your girlfriend is taking meds. Are you referring to ARVs (antiretroviral treatment for HIV)? Being on treatment and having an undetectable viral load dramatically reduces the chance of your girlfriend passing HIV onto you.

In response to your question, it is possible for you and your girlfriend to have a baby without you catching HIV. There are a number of options available to couples like you.

The simplest option is just to conceive normally. In your partner has an undetectable viral load, you will not be at risk. This article explains why U=U (undetectable viral load = untransmittable HIV).
https://i-base.info/htb/32308

As with any planned pregnancy it is good to talk to your doctor for best ways to conceive. For example knowing the best times. Ovulation takes place in the middle of her monthly cycle, about 14 days before her period.

For more information please follow this link to our guide to HIV pregnancy and women’s health.

Your girlfriend may also find it helpful to read the guide as it answers a lot of general questions around HIV and pregnancy.

Good luck with your future plans.

The information in this answer was updated in January 2017 from a post in March 2012. Please see: Question 6 at this link for more information.

419 comments

  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Ruth.

    If your husband is on medication and his viral load is undetectable there’s no risk to you, please see here: https://i-base.info/u-equals-u/ This might be what he’s talking about.

  2. Ruth

    My husband was Hiv posstive i married him i didn’t know 2 years ago and now we have a baby u was tested nagatve and my baby too do I have a risk of getting infected latter because he told me ha was zero something which I didn’t understand.

  3. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Ainos,

    I’m sorry that you feel frustrated and depressed. But there are some really good things in your comment that sound great for the future.

    First, it’s common for one person to test HIV positive and the other to test negative. And it sounds great that your boyfriend has been supportive and that he doesn’t want to break up with you.

    Are you taking HIV treatment (called ART)? Please let us know. That’s because, if you are on ART and have an undetectable viral load, HIV can not be transmitted. Even if you don’t use condoms.

    Please see Undetectable = Untransmittable at this link.

    The other good news is that many many HIV positive women around the world have had healthy HIV negative babies when taking ART.

    Please see this guide to HIV pregnancy and women’s health.

    Please also talk to your doctor about your HIV treatment. And if you have access to your CD4 count and viral load results, please tell us what they are.

  4. Ainos

    Im HIV positive and im 18 well i have one boyfriend and ive only been having sexual intercourse with him for 20years now .my boyfriend came out to be negative when im positive. Iam confused and angered because im still young and feel as if my goals are gonna be shuttered because of my status .i love my boyfriend and hes being supportive and everything,we have 3 good years together and i don’t want to leave him.in some way i feel like its uncomfortable for me to be with when im positive because somehow things are gonna be different and i wouldn’t want to infect him. He doesnt want to break up with me even when i beg him to ..im frustrated,devastated and depressed by this confusing scenario.

  5. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Benedo,

    Can I ask if your partner is on HIV treatment (called ART)? If she is taking ART and has undetectable viral load, HIV can not be transmitted. That’s even if you don’t use condoms.

    So this doesn’t seem a good reason to end the relationship. And you can continue having sex too.

    For much more info please see this link to Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U).

    If your partner needs info about starting treatment, please see this Introduction to ART.

  6. Benedo

    I am HIV negative but my partner is positive. I am willing to end the relationship but remain good friends without sex any more. I always have sleepless night because I just get to know about her HIV recently after more than three years living together.
    Please, what I do now because I never expected this in my life. Extremely scare now.

  7. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Nandipha,

    Are you on medication and is your viral load undetectable?

  8. Nandipha

    Am hiv+ if I give my boyfriend blow job will he get infected with him?

  9. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Alex,

    This is a question that we really don’t have the answer to, this is because how people talk about their status varies. As to does the reaction that a positive person gets when they tell someone about their status. This noted, I think the best thing to do is to be honest, that is if you see a future in this relationship. You could try and find out what she knows about HIV and if needed educate her. The fact that you can’t transmit could be really important. Like I said, be honest.

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *