What are the risks of unprotected sex when both partners are HIV positive?

Updated: Jul 01, 2019
  • Author: Nicholas John Bennett, MBBCh, PhD, MA(Cantab), FAAP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Some HIV-infected people actively seek out other persons with HIV infection for sex under the assumption that they are not putting themselves or anyone else at an increased risk. However, it is clear that co-infections with multiple HIV strains (whether the same or different clades) can and do occur, and that such events may result in a rapid deterioration of a previously stable infection. A growing number of new infections are drug resistant upon first presentation, suggesting that these infections were transmitted from individuals receiving therapy.

Higher viral loads in the source partner are associated with higher transmission rates; thus, because barrier contraception is imperfect (although by far the best method to prevent sexual transmission), good control of viral load is important.


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