CDC Greenlights Virus Removal Technique for HIV-Positive Men to Father Children

Medications that suppress viral loads aid HIV-infected men who want children.

The CDC has changed its guidance for HIV-infected men who want to father children.

For years, the health agency said it was too risky for men with HIV to have unprotected sex with HIV-negative women due to the high-risk of transmission.

But now, couples can try to conceive if the man has been taking HIV medications to suppress their viral loads and the woman takes a drug that protects against infection, according to The Washington Post.

Approval of a technique called sperm washing has been slow, despite this method being around for decades and endorsed by other medical organizations.

Sperm washing involves separating sperm from infected cells in seminal fluid, and using the sperm for artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization.

The agency sought substantial evidence that women were not becoming infected from washed sperm. The CDC’s Dr Denise Jamieson said that after reviewing nearly 4000 cases worldwide, it was clear that women were not becoming infected from the technique.

Dr William Short, of the University of Pennsylvania, told NBC New York that sperm washing can cost $10,000 or more, and the price has been more of a deterrent than the agency’s slowness to endorse it.

However, he noted that the updated guidance will likely help more couples feel comfortable about trying to have a baby.