Q: My partner is pos and hes been on meds for ages and is undetectable but if the virus could still be in his semen, can he get his semen tested?
Ask an expert’s doctors said…
A: I am not aware of any laboratory providing analysis of semen - it does require the modification of the usual technique used to measure the virus in blood so it is not simply a matter of submitting a semen sample instead of blood.
Ask an expert also understands, after talking to researchers involved in the new Australian Study called Opposites Attract, that testing the viral load of semen is not even very common in research.
The Opposites Attract study will be exploring HIV treatments, viral load, and HIV transmission in serodiscordant gay male relationships (that is, where one man is HIV-negative and the other man is HIV-positive). The study will also hope to answer the question: is the HIV viral load in semen the same as in blood? However, only those men in Sydney who get involved in the study will have the opportunity to be invovled in this part of the study.
The researchers indicated they use a different test to measure the viral load of semen than they do to measure the viral load of blood. As this technique has not often been used in research it is not available to the public.
It is important to note that most of the research that has been conducted into seminal viral load has been conducted in heterosexuals and has been exploring issues to do with conception. As such, Opposites Attract is a really important study as it will hopefully increase our understanding of seminal viral load and the influence of this on transmission in gay men.
Interested in the Opposites Attract Study or want to get involved? Visit the website here: http://www.oppositesattract.net.au/
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