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|“my Fiancée Is HIV +…” by samueld0(m): 8:21am On Aug 29, 2015
Last Saturday, I was a member of a panel of discussants at a youth forum. One of the questions that came via SMS was from a young man who claimed his fiancée is HIV positive, what should he do? In my response, I said the first issue is, does he love the lady sufficiently enough to want to spend the rest of his life with her? If the response is yes, then he should deal with the HIV issue along with the other issues people involved in courtship should deal with.
First, courtship is a time for them to get to know each other well enough to decide whether or not to get married. Do they share similar interests and core values? Are they friends? Are they ready to put up with each other’s short comings for the rest of their lives…? Marrying an HIV positive person does come with sacrifice and strict discipline, but the couple can live normally like other married couples and give birth to HIV-free children.
Other panelists spoke in similar vein, with the reverend gentleman in the panel stressing the importance of the sacrificial nature of marital love. But one young man in the audience would have none of it. As far as he was concerned, we were talking theory. He said in practice nobody would take that “dangerous” plunge. He said he cannot even mention it to his parents, neither can anybody. I would have let the matter be, but he got a lot of applause and “go on” from the audience, which means, that is probably also the thinking of many people.
Now, let us leave prejudice and look at the facts. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes HIV infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The virus can be spread through blood transfusion, seminal fluid, vaginal fluid and breast milk. AIDS did claim many lives in those days (about 35 million people worldwide with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for the bulk as at 2012), but over time, it is no longer the death sentence it used to be.
However, there is still no cure for AIDS, but effective treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART) can suppress the virus and help people with HIV live healthy, normal and productive lives. What challenges do HIV negative people with HIV positive spouses face and how do they overcome them? To start with, unprotected sex is out of it. Such couples should engage only in safe sex, that is, using condoms, to protect the HIV negative spouse.
Living with HIV and deciding to get married presupposes that you have chosen the option to live and therefore you are on ART, which reduces the amount of virus in your blood and body fluids. The treatment also greatly reduces the chances of transmitting HIV to the HIV-free spouse because of the reduction in viral load. One bitter truth, however, is that as long as there is sexual intercourse, the HIV-negative spouse is exposed to infection.
Some experts therefore advise that the HIV-negative spouse should take an HIV-prevention pill a day. Where there is reasonable reason to believe that the HIV-free spouse is exposed if, for instance, the condom breaks during sex, they should contact their physician immediately who will place the concerned spouse on the necessary drugs also referred to as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). So an HIV positive and HIV negative couple can have an active sex life.
The other major concern is that can they have healthy, HIV-free children? The answer is capital YES. But before we get to that let us acknowledge that the HIV virus can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, labour, delivery and breastfeeding. This is known as perinatal or vertical transmission and accounts for about 90 per cent of cases of HIV in children.
Having babies by such couples does not follow the normal process of intercourse since they should not have unprotected sex. The husband’s semen, therefore, has to be extracted and introduced into the wife. Once the woman gets pregnant, she should be on ART, especially after the first trimester. A prior effective ART regimen should have reduced her viral load thereby reducing chances of HIV transmission to the unborn baby. She will continue with her ART through pregnancy (based on doctor’s advice) and during childbirth to help reduce the chances of HIV transmission to the child.
It is not compulsory but advisable that she delivers via caesarian instead of normal birth to reduce the risk of infecting the baby. Anybody who has witnessed childbirth knows it is a bloody affair, and blood is one of the main vehicles of transmission of HIV. After childbirth, the baby also needs to be on ART for the first six weeks, especially, and undergo periodic test for HIV. Hopefully with all the precautions the baby will be HIV free.
The mother is advised not to breastfeed. Mothers’ breast milk is very important for babies, but the baby’s HIV-free status is more important. The other issue is that research is not yet conclusive on the long term effect of ART on the children.
So our friend who asked the question, there you have it. You have your decision cut out. Then to the young man in the audience who said we are speaking theory, there are some Nigerian couples in this situation and they are living normal lives with healthy, HIV-free babies. Many people ignorantly assume that all HIV carriers are homosexuals or promiscuous people; that is partly responsible for the lingering stigmatization. But this is not always the case.
Many innocently got infected through blood transfusion, sharing of body-piercing objects, clippers, promiscuous spouses/partners and unsterilized medical and dental equipment, etc. Many of those stigmatizing HIV carriers have been exposed to similar situations or were even more promiscuous, but escaped unscathed. Let us stop this stigmatization. Marriage (man and woman) is a personal choice and we should get used to people’s legitimate choices. Love conquers all.
|Re: “my Fiancée Is HIV +…” by INTROVERT(f): 8:22am On Aug 29, 2015
Moral of the story.... avoid unprotected sex and if possible avoid sex totally, giving head and bjs
As 4 me if I discover my fiancee is hiv+, it's a big byebye. it's my life, my decision
|Re: “my Fiancée Is HIV +…” by samueld0(m): 8:36am On Aug 29, 2015
Boob Surcking nko?
|Re: “my Fiancée Is HIV +…” by LieDetector(m): 8:40am On Aug 29, 2015
INTROVERT:introvert, so you be male
You've been bursted bro
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