Starting a family
HIV doesn’t prevent you from becoming a dad. You can have children if and when you are ready. If you are ready, talk to your doctor about your options and next steps.
It’s important to know that if you are on effective treatment, you can live a long and healthy life without passing the virus to your partner. By having an ‘undetectable’ viral load – which means the amount of virus in your blood is so low that it is considered ‘undetectable’ – you can conceive naturally without passing the virus on during sex*. If your HIV viral load is detectable, regardless of your sexual orientation, there are different options available for you to start a family.
*While effective viral suppression with antiretroviral therapy has been proven to substantially reduce the risk of sexual transmission, a residual risk cannot be excluded. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that there is effectively no risk of sexual transmission of HIV in individuals with an undetectable viral load.
To help you plan for your next appointment and helpful questions to ask, go to What To Ask for tips and downloadable questions.
- Can my partner and I conceive naturally and safely?
- What if my HIV viral load is detectable?
- What if I'm gay?
CAN MY PARTNER AND I CONCEIVE NATURALLY AND SAFELY?
Yes, you can conceive naturally and safely. As long as you are taking your HIV medication and have had an undetectable HIV viral load for more than six months it is okay to try and conceive naturally, as the likelihood of you passing on HIV is significantly reduced*.
As an extra precaution to reduce the risk of passing on HIV to your partner, they may be offered anti-HIV medication to take around the days you have unprotected sex.
Talk to your healthcare team and they can advise the safest way for you to conceive your baby and let you know your options if you are concerned about your fertility.
WHAT IF MY HIV VIRAL LOAD IS DETECTABLE?
If your HIV viral load is detectable, talk to your healthcare team about the best options available to you.
WHAT IF I’M GAY?
If you and your partner are looking to start a family, adoption may be an option for you.
Ask your healthcare team if they have any information they can give you or research adoption agencies in your local area.