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Should a HIV positive person get married?

Thursday, 31 March 2005
Answered by: Dr. L.M. Nath
Consultant, Community Medicine,

New Delhi
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Q. I am a 22 years old girl suffering from HIV but who wants to marry. If I get married to someone who does not have HIV and we use protection while having sex, will he get the virus? Please reply as this is very important since I do not want to lose him? Is there a similar case that you have come across? Can we adopt a child if we get married? I don't know what to do and what not to do? Please guide me. I can't even stay without getting married since it is a tradition to do so and moreover I can't even tell the whole world that I am suffering from HIV.

A.  You have asked a very difficult question and there is no clear right or wrong path. I can only share my thinking and hope that it helps you to make up your mind. First are you sure that you are HIV positive? In other words was any confirmatory test done? If you are relying on a single test please get yourself tested again. Never believe a single test if it is positive, always ensure that a second test is done. If a HIV positive person gets married and has insertive sex, even with a condom, there is a chance that the other partner will eventually get an infection in about 15% of the cases. The best bet is to marry a positive person and then take all precautions so that neither partner gets a second infection. In any case if you are HIV positive and do decide to get married it is ESSENTIAL that you share the knowledge of your HIV status with the potential partner. This is not only a legal responsibility but also the correct thing to do for moral and ethical reasons. I admire you for facing a very difficult problem with your eyes open to the actual situation.

A.  You have asked a very difficult question and there is no clear right or wrong path. I can only share my thinking and hope that it helps you to make up your mind. First are you sure that you are HIV positive? In other words was any confirmatory test done? If you are relying on a single test please get yourself tested again. Never believe a single test if it is positive, always ensure that a second test is done. If a HIV positive person gets married and has insertive sex, even with a condom, there is a chance that the other partner will eventually get an infection in about 15% of the cases. The best bet is to marry a positive person and then take all precautions so that neither partner gets a second infection. In any case if you are HIV positive and do decide to get married it is ESSENTIAL that you share the knowledge of your HIV status with the potential partner. This is not only a legal responsibility but also the correct thing to do for moral and ethical reasons. I admire you for facing a very difficult problem with your eyes open to the actual situation.

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