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.

429 comments

  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Stanley,

    If your girlfriends viral load is undetectable, there’s no risk. Please see here:

    https://i-base.info/u-equals-u/

  2. Stanley

    Hi…am negative and my girlfriend is positive and I really loved her and want to make her my wife…and she on her medication can I have sex with her on protected?

  3. Simon Collins

    Hi Julen

    Thanks for posting about your situation.

    You are protected twice. There is definitely no risk to you.

    PrEP is protecting you. This is a guide to PrEP:
    https://i-base.info/guides/prep

    And so is your partner being on treatment.
    https://i-base.info/u-equals-u/

  4. Julen

    Hi Lizzy, I am HIV negative, but my girlfriend is hiv positive. I am using PrEP and she is on ARV treatment. I wondered if I am at risk?

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Toyin,

    No. As long as you adhere to your medication, you won’t die due to a HIV/AIDS related complication, this is because your HIV will be under control.

  6. Toyin

    People that has HIV even if they take their drugs regularly can the virus still kill them

  7. Simon Collins

    Hi Visttie, please see this link about U=U:
    https://i-base.info/u-equals-u/

    This includes info about how being on treatment will stop the risk of HIV to partners.

    It needs your viral load to be undetectable on HIV treatment (called ART).

  8. Visttie

    Is it possible for a male partner living with HIV not to pass it to his negative partner?

  9. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Lizzy,

    We get asked this quesiton a lot. I wish there was an easy answer, however there isn’t. You could try and see what his views are with regards to HIV. If you’re on medication and your viral load is undetectable, this could help when approaching the subject. Please see here for why: https://i-base.info/u-equals-u/

Comment

Your email address will not be published.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