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How long can a child be without symptoms if infected at birth?

Question: 

This might sound crazy but I have a question. 22 years ago I slept with a young man (he was 18) and I was 22. We were involved for two months. I'm trying to remember if we used condoms every time but it's been so long. I know that we did for the most part but not during oral sex. After we stopped seeing each other I got married and had a son a few years later.
I found out last night that the young man has HIV. He says that he moved to Toronto after we were together and realized he was gay and from the sounds of it may have gotten into some drugs because he said he was pretty messed up. Either way it's not this young man's fault as we were both consenting adults.
He found out within the last 10 years that he was positive and says it happened after we were together. It's horrible that he is dealing with this now. But if he unknowingly got it before we were together... then it changed things for me and my son.
After 22 years I am wondering if this is even necessary in your opinion?
My more important question relates to my son. He is 19. He has never been tested. He does not have infections and was on antibiotics once in his life. He had no developmental issues growing up - was an honor student - is a very talented musician - appears to have no problems except that he developed an arrhythmia a few years ago. Doctors don't know what caused it but think it might be panic related.
So my questions is - is it possible that at 19, with no health issues, he could have HIV and be walking around healthy? The birth was horrific and he was exposed to a great deal of my blood. I almost died. So I would assume if I had it it would have been passed on to him.
I don't want to suggest he get a test because I don't know how his heart will handle the idea that he may have been exposed.
Is 22 years for me and 19 years for my son still risky?
Please advise. I'm really worried that I may have infected my child and it's the worst feeling in the world. I just need to know what are the chances that he could have it if the young man I slept with 22 years ago had it then and didn't know it? Could it be dormant that long in a child - 19 years?

Answer: 

Hi there! Thanks for contacting us with your questions. We're happy to help!

This situation is very unlikely. You would have had to have acquired HIV yourself in order to pass it on to your son at the time of your pregnancy and birth. If you were HIV+, you would likely be experiencing CD4+ cell deterioration by now, 22 years later, and be experiencing health issues of sorts. Additionally, children who acquire HIV from their mother in utero don't generally do well. Most babies who acquire HIV become very sick and many of them die. It's unlikely for an HIV infection to remain asymptomatic in a baby, so it's very unlikely that your son has had HIV all these years.

That being said, the only way to ever be certain about your HIV status is through testing. If you don't want to tell your son, you could always just get tested yourself. If you don't have HIV, then there would have been no way you passed it on to your son during pregnancy. If you are indeed HIV+, which is unlikely, then you could proceed to inform your son and go from there.

I hope this helped! For more information, please visit https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/just-diagnosed-with-hiv-aids/overview/children/.

Sincerely,

Christina

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