Is there any risk of HIV infection to my family?
Q: I am a 32 years old HIV positive man for the last year. Fortunately my wife is not infected with HIV as all the HIV ELISA test conducted on her has come non reactive (one year from last exposure). My wife was pregnant at the time when I came to know that I am HIV positive. Both the baby and mother are doing fine now. From that day I have never had any sexual activities with her. Is there any chance that my wife could still be HIV positive in future? Can she continue feeding the baby? Is my baby safe from HIV infection? Is HIV dependent on any lymphocyte cell or any kind of other cells?
A:Going by what you tell me, it is very likely that your wife is not infected with HIV and if she was not infected during pregnancy your child too will not be infected. I am very glad to hear that both of them are doing well. If your wife tested negative (not infected one year after last exposure then she is not infected. Unless she subsequently gets infected from unprotected intercourse, she will not test positive even in the future. Certainly she can and must breastfeed the baby. This is good for the child and even for her. Please ask your paediatrician about when other items should be added for the baby. Generally we recommend up to 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding (nothing else by mouth) if the mother is producing normal amounts of milk. The best indication of an adequate diet in the baby is continuing adequate growth. After 6 months the baby needs to have other things in addition to breast milk. I see no reason to worry about the HIV status of the baby in the future. The virus spreads all over the body and is found in most body fluids in varying amounts. However, it is primarily and infection that attacks a type of lymphocyte.