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Ask Dr. K
BAREBACKING WITH PARTNER HE DIDN'T KNOW WAS POZ

QUESTION
I recently discovered that my partner of two years is HIV positive. He is taking Combivir and Viread, so I am assuming he has been HIV+ for awhile now. We have been in a monogamous relationship and have been engaging in unprotected oral and anal sex with exchange of cum. My partner does not yet know that I am aware of his status. I went and got tested for HIV last week and will have my results soon. I really fear I will test positive.

Obviously, since he is taking these medications, he is HIV poz, correct? I love my partner very much and there is a part of me that understands his not telling me. I don't think his family even knows. I am not going to address all of this with him until I have received my test results. I have made an appointment with my primary care physician for a check-up which will take place after I get my results. Is there anything else I should be doing with regard to my and my partner's health?

ANSWER
Yes, you are right. Both Combivir and Viread are medications indicated for people who are living with HIV.

It sounds like you're doing all the right things for your physical health. And it is very sweet of you to be forgiving of his not telling you his HIV status because as you recognize, it is not something that is easy to tell another person for a variety of reasons (shame, stress, fear of rejection, etc.) You do need to take a closer look, though, of the issue of his having HIV and having unprotected intercourse with you without telling you. This has an affect on your relationship, both now and in the future.

I'd recommend you start talking about things as soon as possible, and keep talking. Your boyfriend may be relieved to know that you found out his status on your own, and be ready to have a frank discussion. Many men say there's a link between disclosing their HIV status and feeling good about themselves. This can directly affect one's health, too, including the progression of HIV.

If you need help finding the words to talk to your partner about this sensitive issue, you can contact the Partner Disclosure Assistance Program (PDAP) in San Francisco, toll-free, at 866-606-7327.

To your health,
Dr. K


   
 
Last modified on Thursday, November 19, 2009.
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