HIV treatment breakthrough as drugs stop transmission of virus after unprotected sex

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

She is calling for anyone living with HIV to be able to have access to clinical testing and effective treatment.

The study was conducted on 75 clinical sites in 14 European countries between September 2010 and July 2017.

The researchers estimate that "approximately 472 transmissions" were prevented because of ART during the length of the study. The management of HIV/AIDS typically includes the use of multiple antiretroviral drugs in an attempt to control HIV infection.

Rachel Baggaley, the World Health Organization's coordinator for HIV prevention and testing, said this latest study "adds to the clear and consistent evidence" that HIV transmission to sexual partners does not occur when someone with HIV is on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and their virus is suppressed.

Dr. Ford Hickson from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told News Medical that the study proves patients who suppress their HIV through ART "cannot pass their virus to other people during sex, whatever kind of sex they have". It included almost 1,000 gay couples, each with one HIV-positive man and one without the virus.

In other words, in all cases of new HIV infections, the new virus was so different from that of the HIV-positive partner that it must have come from somebody else. HIV can lead to AIDS. "The risk of HIV transmission in gay couples through condomless sex when HIV viral load is suppressed is effectively zero", the authors write in their report.

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This time, "our results offer conclusive proof to gay men that the risk of HIV transmission with antiretroviral therapy suppressing the viral charge is zero", Alison Rodger, the University College London professor who edited the study, considered. Over the eight years, 15 men who were initially HIV-negative were infected with the virus.

Finally, the battle with HIV has started in the '80s and is continuing even now, with more than 1.8 million new cases every year.

An end to the AIDS epidemic could be in sight.

- matt (@stokes_matt) May 3, 2019As a gay man, diagnosed with #HIV only eight years ago (2011), I'm actually quite emotional seeing today's headlines.

"This powerful message can help end the HIV pandemic by preventing HIV transmission, and tackling the stigma and discrimination that many people with HIV face", she added.

Dr Michael Brady, Medical Director at Terrence Higgins Trust and National NHS Adviser for LGBT Health said it was "impossible to overstate the importance of the findings". "Finding ways to get the knowledge in practice is what we need to do next".

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