When one is on Antiretroviral drugs, the HIV infection could retreat to areas where it cannot easily be detected. This does not mean that one is no longer HIV positive.
Dear Doctor: I am HIV positive. My boyfriend and I went for a test but he tested HIV negative. Could it be that he is taking ARVs to hide the HIV?
Dear Anita: It is widely rumoured that there are drugs that one can take to get a negative HIV result. People have taken aspirin, ARVs (Antiretrovirals) and other drugs to influence the result ending up disappointed when they find that they are HIV positive.
A common HIV test checks for presence of HIV fighter substances called antibodies in blood and once one is infected with HIV, these substances will appear around three months after the infection and will last a lifetime.
Since these substances may not appear before a window period of three months and yet one may transmit infection, couples are always aised to carry out a second test after three months. The second test is to confirm, before embarking on live sex, that one did not have an undetected infection and had not yet become positive due to the antibodies not being formed then.
People on ARVs have been checked and found not to have the virus in their blood because the drugs may eliminate the germ from the blood but it will remain in other areas called sanctuaries where tests may not access it.
People living with HIV who are on ARVs should take their drugs for life because when they stop, the viral infection will come out from hiding and cause more serious damage and may become resistant to the drugs one was taking or even others.
Though someone on ARV treatment may be less likely to transmit infections sexually, it is still aisable that they protect their spouses by using condoms.
The test to show presence of the HIV infection while on ARVs is very expensive and less commonly used.
However, when on ARVS, although one’s test results may not show the virus in one’s blood, common HIV tests will show that despite there being no visible sign of infection in the blood, one is still HIV positive.
Dear Doctor: I have three wives and seven children. However, my third wife has failed to get pregnant. When I went with her to a doctor, he found that I had low sperm count.
Is it the other women consuming my sperms and leaving the younger one with few sperms?
Dear Smart: Low sperm count (oligospermia) refers to releasing of fewer than the normal numbers (less than 15 million sperms per cubic centimetres of semen) of sperms during ejaculation.
Having a low sperm count only decreases but does not entirely stop the likelihood of fertilisation and pregnancy.
In some cases, one can get children with one woman and then fail with another woman.
A man with low sperm count is more likely to impregnate a younger woman and therefore more fertile woman. As men grow older, their sperm count decreases so they may be less likely to impregnate women yet they used to do so before.
As men age, they may not have as much sex as they did when they were younger, adding to the problem of infertility.
There are many causes of low sperm counts after one has fathered children including changes a man may have undergone or activities that he may be engaged in, that he was not doing before, that may affect his sperm counts.
A lifestyle that involves heavy drinking and smoking or drug abuse obesity, certain drugs, and infections involving testes and sperm delivery tubes, extended use of computers or video display monitors, shiftwork, and work-related stress among many others, can cut sperm yields.
All the above causes have to be addressed to improve the chances of a previously fertile man, making a woman pregnant.
It is a common misconception that abstinence will save sperms hence increasing sperm count and male fertility.
However, infrequent ejaculation as a result of abstinence is associated with an increase of abnormal sperms reducing chances of making a woman pregnant. The longer sperms stay stored in the testes the more they are attacked by free radicals (small reactive molecules which can damage and sometimes cause cell death).
Generally, having sex every day improves sperm quality and could boost the chances of fertility especially if this is done during a woman’s fertile days. Abstaining will only lead to failure to get a woman pregnant because pregnancy results from sex.
“Alcohol use is a significant cause of injury and death from home accidents in bathrooms.
Please don’t drink and bathe unless you are bathing outside in
(a surface such as) a karayi in a banana plantation.”
Dr vincent karuhanga
SOURCE: Daily Monitor