HIV/AIDS Glossary

Sperm Washing

A laboratory procedure used to separate semen (the fluid part of ejaculate) from sperm. Sperm washing can be considered as a reproductive option for an HIV-discordant couple in which the man has HIV. Because the seminal fluid contains the highest concentration of HIV, the "washed" sperm contains little, if any, HIV. However, because sperm washing has not been proven completely effective, couples using the procedure should be counseled regarding the potential risks for transmission of HIV.

Related Term(s): Discordant Couple

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