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Can a HIV+ couple adopt a child?

Q: My wife and I are HIV+. I have been taking ARV therapy since the last 1 year and I will be giving the same to my wife very soon as we just found out last week that she was also positive. So far both of us show no other symptoms. We were thinking of adopting a child. Is there any legal rule of the Indian government or any court which prevents an HIV+ couple from adopting a child?

A:I do not know of any legal barriers to your adopting a child. However please keep in mind that you would have to make provisions for the child to be looked after when both of you are unable to fulfil your parental responsibilities. Of course from your letter it is clear that you are both going to be well looked after medically and there is every possibility that you will be able to look after your child for many years. However the course in a person with HIV is somewhat unpredictable and therefore it is best to face all eventualities. I also want to suggest that even if both you and your wife are HIV positive, and in all likely hood have shared the infection, please continue to practice safer sex between yourselves. The HIV is a virus that mutates very rapidly and it is quite possible that even after a shared virus, in a short while there are important differences in the virus in two persons. In that eventuality another exposure can be a reinfection and further harm the immune system. While your regular doctor is the best person to take care of your treatment, please keep in mind that the current thinking is that one should do without ARV until the CD4 cell count comes below 200. I am sure that this will be kept in mind when planning the treatment regimen for your wife. One other thing that you may wish to keep in mind is that with proper long course treatment, one can reduce the probability of HIV infection to the unborn child to less than 2%.

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