HIV - International Forum
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Avatar universal

Risks of transmission with an HIV positive partner

I'm an HIV negative man and have just started a relationship with someone who is HIV positive. He's been on anti-retrovirals for the past 10 years and his HIV load count is undetectable.

I've been told by a friend who is HIV positive that the risks of transmission of HIV is negligible when someone's load count is undetectable.

Can you let me know if this is true?

I'm generally the active partner and would like to stop using condoms when we have anal sex.

Having searched the internet, it seems very difficult to get a straightforward answer to this question.


1 Responses
936016 tn?1332769204
Hi Charlie

Thanks for the interesting question.

There isn't a straight answer.

There is good eveidence that most new cases of HIV result from contact with someone who is relatively recently infected - who tend to have massive HIV viral loads  - ith the 100's of thousands or millions of copies of HIV per ml of blood/semen.

There is also good evidence from Swiss studies that people with undetectable viral loads represent very little if any risk to other people through infection.

Recently the concept of PrEP - Pre Exposure Prophylaxis has arisen - where in serodiscordant couples (one HIV neg and one HIV positive) the negative partner may take a single antiretroviral medication on a long term basis - on the basis that this will help reduce the risk of the negative partner acquiring HIV. The safety of long term medication in otherwise healthy people seems to be established - the effectiveness does not as yet.

If you are to have unprotected anal sex then you need to be comfortable with the possibility that you may acquire a long term chronic illness requiring life long medication and all that that combination may bring.

Being the active partner may subtly influence your risk - but in an undefined way.

Hence - no straight answer!

best wishes, Sean

Popular Resources
These tips can help HIV-positive women live a long, healthy life.
Despite the drop in new infections, black women are still at a high risk for HIV, the virus that causes Aids.
What are your HIV treatment options, and how do you choose the right one? Our panel of experts weighs in.
Learn the truth behind 14 common misconceptions about HIV.
Can HIV be transmitted through this sexual activity? Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia answers this commonly-asked question.
A breakthrough study discovers how to reduce risk of HIV transmission by 95 percent.