Love, suspicion & HIV discordancy
Sindi was diagnosed with HIV four years ago when she was pregnant with Thato, according to Thabiso, who still cannot understand how the couple could be HIV discordant, or have different HIV statuses.
“My wife and I never use protection during sexual intercourse,” Thabiso told OurHealth. “We have a son together, but I remain HIV negative and they both tested HIV positive.”
It is still unclear why some people do not contract the virus from their HIV-positive partners despite years of unprotected sex. What is clear is that using condoms correctly and consistently is the only way to ensure that HIV-negative partners stay free of the virus.
For those living with HIV, starting HIV treatment on time and adhering to it can reduce your HIV viral load. A lower HIV viral load is associated with a decreased risk of passing on the virus.
Sindi and Thabiso are taking one day at a time and trying to support one another. The couple has also started using condoms to prevent Thabiso from contracting HIV and he has taken an active role in supporting his wife and child on HIV treatment. Thabiso accompanies Sindi and Thato for their monthly check ups.
However, Sindi says her in-laws have been less than supportive.
“My husband’s family knows about this challenge that we are currently facing,” she says. “His mother has labelled me a ‘loose woman’, who is not good for her son.”
Sindi added that although paternity tests have proven that Thato is Thabiso’s son, she lives with accusations that the boy is the product of an extra-marital affair.
She says she takes comfort in her relationship with Thabiso, which she says grows stronger each day.
“We eat healthy meals together and my husband still loves me,” she told OurHealth. “God is always our guide in this challenge.”
*Names changed upon request