How HIV+ Men Can Father HIV-Free Kids

Ben Banks knows, because he did it
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 26, 2014 1:35 PM CDT
Updated Jun 26, 2014 1:50 PM CDT
How HIV+ Men Can Father HIV-Free Kids

Ben Banks contracted HIV as a child, during a blood transfusion while he was being treated for an aggressive form of cancer. But it was always his dream to have a biological family—and he accomplished it last year, despite his HIV status, when his daughter was born HIV-free. As Banks writes in Time, he and his wife, Kasiah, first opted for sperm-washing—during which sperm is separated from infected fluid to produce a virus-free sample—before having two sperm samples tested for HIV and then, upon coming back negative, artificially inseminated. Much research has been done on mother-to-child transmission of HIV, but not much surrounding father-to-child, and "as mentors to younger HIV-positive children, adolescents, and young adults, we wanted to give the message of prevention."

But this lack of information and dialogue is troublesome. "As we began to explore options, Kasiah and I were frustrated at the lack of family-planning data or information out there for serodiscordant couples like us, in which one partner is HIV-positive and the other is negative," Banks writes. "By not considering an HIV-positive male in terms of reproduction, a large portion of the HIV population is being ignored. We share our story and our daughter’s story to let other HIV-positive men know that the possibility of having a healthy, HIV-free family is very much a reality." Click for his full column. (More HIV stories.)

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