New Studies Are Showing a Method of Preventing HIV Transmission


The HIV-positive partner in each couple received treatment for the virus throughout the entire study.

Then, she calls for "ensuring that all HIV-positive people have access to testing, effective treatment, adherence support and linkage to care to help maintain an undetectable viral load".

The landmark European study followed almost 1,000 gay male couples, where one partner had HIV and the other was taking antiretroviral drugs to suppress it. The researchers followed up with the volunteers for a median of two years, during which they reported if they had sex without a condom.

Among the limitations of their research, the authors nonetheless noted that most HIV positive participants had been taking antiretrovirals for several years and that they therefore had "limited data on the danger of transmission during the first months of antiretroviral therapy". The management of HIV/AIDS typically includes the use of multiple antiretroviral drugs in an attempt to control HIV infection.

The report, published in The Lancet medical journal, shows that using ART to suppress HIV virus to undetectable levels renders it incapable of transmission during sex, according to the researchers.

The results showed that antiretroviral treatment is just as effective for gay couples, as it is for heterosexual couples. The study has been conducted for eight years on the couples, and with this treatment, no HIV transmission has been found.

But he cautioned that stigma, homophobia and other social forces have meant that getting tested for HIV and accessing treatment is not always possible, particularly for men who have sex with men.

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Researchers say that in the fight against HIV, the number of people dying from AIDS per year is falling and the number of people taking ART is rising.

"Our findings provide conclusive evidence for gay men that the risk of HIV transmission with suppressive ART is zero". Experts have said the results send "a powerful message" about how to stop the spread of a virus which affects millions of people around the world.

The findings build on an earlier phase of the study which specifically looked at the HIV transmission risk for serodifferent heterosexual couples.

For GBT+ men, HIV and AIDS have been one of the many barriers to acceptance, largely in part to the 1980s epidemic.

Dr Michael Brady, from HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, said the findings would have an incredible impact on the lives of people living with HIV. "We think this is vital to addressing stigma".

Dr. Myron Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote a commentary that accompanied the study.