The PARTNER study reported no HIV transmissions after couple had sex more than 58,000 times WITHOUT condoms – when viral load was undetectable.
Risk factors for penetrative sex without a condom with someone who has a high viral load could be as high as 1 in 10 (10% risk).
Exposed persons do not have to know the HIV status of the person with whom they had contact in order to be offered PEP--providers will evaluate the risk level of the exposure and, if possible, offer testing to the source individual.
The exposed person should be tested for preexisting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases such as hepatitis B, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, but the first dose of PEP should not be delayed in order to complete that testing.
But the risk get close to zero with someone who is taking treatment and who has an undetectable viral load.
Risk assessment is difficult though, because say the risk is 1 in 100, then 99 people will be fine, but you could be the one who is unlucky.
This reduces the risk of transmission to the baby to less than 1%, if the mother’s viral load is undetectable when the baby is born.
Many HIV positive women are having healthy HIV negative babies by using combination therapy (ARV’s) during pregnancy.
Many emergency rooms and insurance plans will provide the ARVs for PEP.
Taking care of your health is more adult than playing house with a boyfriend, yet, even though I had been tested for STIs, I had never thought of getting an HIV test.
But one day, randomly, I added the HIV rapid test to the list of things to do before intake to my pap smear appointment.
I thought it was a formality I should finally take care of.
I kept asking the nurse who took me upstairs at the Margaret Sanger Center in the East Village for a second blood test to confirm the rapid test result.