« Go Back

how safe is it to have sex if viral load is unknown but taking medicine regularly and indulge in safe sex

Question: 

hello Dr,

Recently in last week i had a sexual act with a HIV positive person , it was brief encounter which lasted hardly for two min. I had used a condom which i am pretty sure did not slip or break and neither it was a rough sexual intercourse as i had foreplay before indulging in the act , I even ejaculated inside her wearing the condom.

i love this women and had known her since last 15 years but this is the first time i had sex with her. In past i had oral sex where she had perform on me i took the test time but it was negative . I know well that she takes her medicine regularly but she has not taken her viral load test in last 10-11 months . i have told her to take the test in every six months but she gets upset on reminding her about her condition and that i hurt her by making her fill guilty that i might get HIV , i don 't want to lose her at this moment .

My question are.... 1} do i have to worry of the transmission if we are both unaware of the viral load even after performing safe sex .

2} is it safe to have sex with condom even if she does'nt take her viral load test but is on proper medication regularly .

3} do i need to worry and take a test after this recent sexual act.

4} how safe is it wearing a condom and getting into a sexual act in missionary position

Answer: 

Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the risk involved with engaging in vaginal sex with your partner who is HIV positive and actively receiving treatment.

From the information given, this scenario is determined to be low risk (evidence of transmission occurs through these activities when certain conditions are met).

Although you have been diligent in protecting yourself, the activity itself may still present a risk. Consider the following from the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE) "Condoms are impermeable to HIV, but can fail to prevent exposure to HIV if they break, slip or leak during use. A break, slip or leak during condom use is known as condom failure and can happen even when used correctly. These factors can reduce the ability of condoms to prevent HIV transmission" (1).

Additionally, the aim of HIV treatment (in this case for your partner) is to produce an undetectable viral load. If your partner is engaged in a physician recommended treatment plan, your risk of HIV acquisition may be lowered significantly. Having an undetectable viral load means that the risk of HIV being passed on is extremely low (2). With this in mind, it is important that your partner have their viral load monitored every 6 months to 1 year while receiving treatment.

In your case, we recommend both you and your partner each receive regular testing to confirm your HIV status (both positive and negative). Please refer to a physician for HIV testing and more personalized answers.

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Cody