November 30, 2018

HIV/AIDS: Expert harps on safe relationships

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Dr kema Onu, Site Coordinator, AIDS HealthCare Foundation (AHF), an NGO, on Friday said it was healthy and safe for couples and partners that are HIV negative and positive to be involved in a relationship.

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Onu told newsmen in Abuja that such relationship was also known as serodiscordant relationship.

He explained that if positive partners are consistent in their intake of anti-retroviral drugs and the use of condom, the risk of transmission reduces significantly to the negative partner.

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“To reduce the risk of HIV transmission, it is important for both partners and couples to take preventive measures.

“Anti-retroviral therapy, pre-exposure prophylaxis and condoms can help both partners manage and maintain their health.

“One of the benefits of anti-retroviral drug is that if the positive partners take the medication consistently, the virus could be suppressed to an undetectable level.

“With an undetectable viral load between three to six months of the positive individual, there is 96 to 97 per cent chance reduction in infecting the negative person, even without the use of condom,’’ he said.

He added that an undetectable viral load from an HIV positive person consistently on anti-retroviral drug does not mean the virus was completely absent.

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Onu however explained that the billions of virus have been suppressed to a level that the machine cannot detect the virus which reduces the chance of transmission.

He said 85 per cent of such couples are found in most health facilities and out of the 85 per cent, 72 per cent of the positive partners are women.

Onu stated that serodiscordant relationships should also be encouraged because the anatomy of a man’s organ hardly gets infected.

The expert further encouraged more couples to embrace such relationships as it was healthy and safe if consistent on their medication and in the use of condom.

Onu added that various fertility options were also available for partners or couples who intend to have children of their own.