My Boyfriend's Ex Has AIDS

Dear Christine,

My boyfriend's ex-girlfriend that he dated for a couple years just told him she has AIDS. She says she caught it from her husband 10 years ago. Iíve been with my boyfriend for a little over a year, so at least 12 months have passed since they were together.

My boyfriend and I both took AIDS tests and our results came out negative. Should we test again to be sure? Someone told us we should test again every couple weeks. He did not use condoms with his ex or with me so Iím still worried.

Sonia P

Dear Sonia,

I think itís important to clarify that AIDS is not passed from one person to another. Rather than being a disease, AIDS is a category of 26 conditions only some of which are contagious. Interestingly, the most common AIDS-defining condition in America today involves no illness whatsoever, just a positive HIV diagnosis and a one-time T cell count of 200 or less.

Although HIV is thought to be readily transmitted through sexual contact, as your boyfriendís experience shows, having regular unprotected sex with a partner who is HIV positive does not necessarily mean a person will go to on to test HIV positive themselves. In this case, your boyfriend spent two years with a woman whose alleged exposure to HIV took place many years prior to being with your boyfriend meaning that he was regularly ďexposedĒ throughout their entire two-year relationship.

With regard to you and your boyfriend testing negative, if I were you, I would put the matter to rest with those results in mind. Although there is no test for AIDS, according to conventional mainstream thinking, a negative HIV test means you are not at risk for developing conditions associated with AIDS. Since HIV tests are not really testing for HIV itself or for specific HIV antibodies, cross-reactions that give false positives are quite possible and may occur upon retesting. Also, providing information about a potential exposure may influence the interpretation of your test and cause indeterminate results to be classified as positive.

In my opinion, you and your boyfriend should not worry further about AIDS unless you are regular users of drugs or are engaging in other activities that can stress your immune system and put your health at risk. You might also consider using condoms in the future to avoid the worry and fear that unprotected sex often evokes and to protect against unplanned pregnancy and very real STDs.

Thanks for writing,


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