I’m the HIV-negative partner in a heterosexual, serodiscordant relationship and we’re trying to get pregnant and start a family; can PrEP help us do that safely?

Yes, PrEP is one of many options available to you as you make decisions about how to safely conceive and have a family. While there is research showing that PrEP works for HIV prevention for adult heterosexual women and men, more research needs to be done on women using PrEP during pregnancy.

As the hopeful soon-to-be dad or soon-to-be mom, there are many things to consider that you should discuss with your partner and doctor— general health, fertility, STIs, HIV viral load of the HIV-positive partner, and risk of HIV transmission—before trying to get pregnant. For example, research shows if your partner has an undetectable viral load with effective HIV treatment and you limit sex without a condom to the woman’s most fertile days, then PrEP may not have additional protective benefits. It is essential to discuss with your partner and doctor what HIV prevention strategy works best for you to ensure a healthy pregnancy and minimize your risk of acquiring HIV.

When considering PrEP, it is important to remember that medications used for HIV treatment and prevention are different, so it is not as simple as sharing medications between partners. Read: Do not try this on your own; sharing medications with each other is a big no-no. While using PrEP, the HIV-negative partner will need to work closely with a doctor for monitoring. For more information on your options for having a baby and referrals to clinics offering assisted reproduction services to HIV-affected couples, please contact Shannon Weber with Bay Area Perinatal AIDS Center and National Perinatal HIV Hotline at 415-206-4241 or sweber@nccc.ucsf.edu.