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Should an HIV positive person marry?

Q: My sister has been found to be HIV-1 (positive) and HIV-2 (negative). Does it mean she is HIV positive? She is 21 years, should she marry?

A:Firstly, has the diagnosis of your sister being HIV-1 positive been made on the basis of a single test or has the test result been confirmed by a repeat test (ELISA or any other)? Single test results should never be used to make a decision about the HIV positive status of any person, though a single negative test rules out HIV after the window period. If the diagnosis was made after a repeat test to confirm the result, then you can accept the diagnosis. The decision to marry is a very personal one and must be made by the person concerned. It is essential that the person she is marrying also knows the diagnosis and concurs with the decision. If she does get married, both partners must know that unprotected sex will have a great chance of sharing the infection with the partner. There is also a 30 to 40% chance that any child born to her will also be HIV positive and can expect a short life span of a few years before developing AIDS and dying of it. If the child is not infected, either by chance or by effective treatment of the mother during pregnancy, the child will almost surely loose one or both parents due to HIV/AIDS before she or he is grown up and independent. The couple must think carefully and realistically before taking this serious step fraught with problems.

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