Black To Life… For A Healthier You
When he has it — and you don’t
BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES
The holiday season is filled with cheer, as we enjoy special time with loved ones and revel in each moment that the season brings.
Though it may not be a discussion for a gathering around the tree, the season also delivers another, very important occasion: Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, a yearly reminder that intimate partners should always be aware of one another’s sexual history.
It is also a time to be educated about the changing face of HIV/AIDS — and how couples with different HIV statuses can lead normal lives that may, under certain circumstances and with the correct procedures, even include procreation.
When a man is HIV-positive and his female partner does not carry the virus, most guidelines recommend that he undergo treatments that will enable him to achieve an undetectable viral load.
There is also a treatment called “sperm washing,” which can be used by couples who desire to conceive a baby without putting their unborn fetus at risk for HIV. Although sperm washing forestalls the risk of HIV transmission, the process is expensive and difficult to access for many people. It involves a semen sample that is placed in a spinning machine that acts to separate sperm cells from the seminal fluid that contains HIV. The washed sperm is then tested to verify that it is HIV-free, before a catheter is used to inject the sperm into the woman’s uterus. In vitro fertilization (IVF) may also be used, especially if the man has a low sperm count.
Together, we can ensure that World AIDS Day remains a time to reflect on the importance of communication, candor and education.
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