Dear Doctor, I am HIV-positive. I have been on ARVs for four years and my health is good. My fiancé is HIV-negative and we have agreed to get married. We have never had sex and we hope to use condoms when we get married. However, we want to have at least one child.
Can I give my fi ancé some of my ARVs as a post-exposure measure on occasions when we want to make a baby?
Would they help? Please advise.
ADear Joan, HIV discordance refers to a situation where two people in a sexual relationship test differently for HIV; where one is positive while the other is negative.
Studies show that the risk of HIV transmission among discordant couples is 10 times higher than the transmission among the general population, so it is one of the key drivers of the HIV epidemic because many of the people in such relationships do not know.
The fact that you know it, however, empowers you to protect your negative partner ARVs are used in post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
in cases of rape or defi lement and for accidental exposure, which can happen to health workers or other carers looking after patients with HIV.
We do not encourage people living in discordant relationships like you are, to use them the way you have described. You should discuss your situation with your doctor because there is a drug people in discordant relationships can use instead of resorting to desperate measures like what you are suggesting.
Recent studies show that this practice gives up to 70% protection to those who take the drugs.
Nevertheless, this is an option you can discuss, as a couple, with your doctor. Your doctor can discuss other options that you can use to get pregnant without putting your husband at risk.
Lastly, you should make sure that you take your drugs with good adherence; meaning that you should not miss a dose and you must take your medication on time to ensure that your viral load is maximally suppressed.