AIDS binds us all together in a common community of risk, and demands that we all exercise appropriate health precautions like condom use. For couples who are attempting to have a child (and hence desire not to use a condom), HIV testing can suggest with reasonable certainty whether you and your partner have been infected.
Couples and individuals can use test results in making decisions about proceeding or not with forgoing condom use for the purposes of conceiving a child.
While transmission of HIV from an infected mother to her unborn child was common earlier in the epidemic, drugs like AZT have significantly lowered this form of HIV transmission.
Additionally, a variety of new drugs and drug combinations have become available in recent years. Some of these drugs are very effective in treating the opportunistic infections that are caused by HIV disease.
Others, like the protease inhibitors, are effective in interfering with reproduction of the virus and limiting the "viral load" or quantity of virus in an infected person's body. These new drugs have allowed many infected individuals to lead longer, healthier, more active and productive lives.
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent HIV infection and there is no cure.
Copyright 2002 Sinclair Intimacy Institute