Processing, selecting and ritualizing: Ambivalent relationships to semen
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© 2015 Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. Two articles on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and reproduction have recently been published in Reproductive BioMedicine Online, both describing developments that increase reproductive options for HIV-positive men. A study of a semen-processing technique used at a South African hospital found that two out of 103 processed samples tested positive for HIV DNA and none for RNA, indicating 98.1% and 100% effectiveness, respectively. The authors recommend semen processing followed by viral validation of processed sperm samples when providing assisted reproduction treatment to couples with an HIV-positive male partner. The other article reviews developments such as semen processing, antiretroviral (ARV) therapy and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which have all reduced the risk of HIV transmission in the context of reproduction. The author also notes, however, that research on fertility in the context of HIV focuses almost exclusively on heterosexual couples, and has overlooked the links between reproduction, HIV and homosexuality. This article analyses the ambivalent role of semen - associated with both reproduction and infection - and how reproductive medicine and health care in different ways seek to 'get hold' of sperm. By taking this analytic approach, sex and parenthood can be thought of as two different but related kinds of intimacy and kinship.
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