The risk of passing on the HIV virus is completely eliminated by effective drugs treatment, a landmark study has shown, in a significant boost to the prospects of ending the AIDS pandemic.
When they were receiving treatment to suppress the virus, they found there were no cases of transmission of the virus to the HIV-negative partner during sex - even without a condom.
The study done between September 15, 2010 and July 31, 2017 enrolled 972 gay couples and the median age for HIV-positive partners was 40 years.
In the end, 782 couples were followed for nearly 1,600 eligible couple-years of follow-up which included more than 76,000 reports of condomless sex.
Doctors found that over the course of the study there was not a single case of in-couple transmission. "Our findings provide conclusive evidence for gay men that the risk of HIV transmission with suppressive ART [antiretroviral therapy] is zero". Study results when taken together suggest that antiretroviral treatment when strictly adhered to is just as effective for homosexual couples as it is for heterosexual couples.
Prof Alison Rodger, study author and professor of infectious diseases at University College London, said anal sex was known to have the highest risk of transmission, but gay men should be reassured.More news: Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi has left country, her lawyer says
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"They support the message. that an undetectable viral load makes HIV untransmittable". But genetic tests showed that the transmissions were a result of the HIV-negative men having sexual relations with someone other than their regular partner.
The US government is one of the biggest global HIV/Aids donors and has provided support to the country's HIV programme since 2004 through PEPFAR.
Deborah Gold, chief executive of National AIDS Trust said more should be done to get the message out to healthcare workers and the public. The PARTNER study has given us the confidence to say, without doubt, that people living with HIV who are on effective treatment can not pass the virus on to their sexual partners.
Avert.org is helping to prevent the spread of HIV and improve sexual health by giving people trusted, up-to date information. Central to Trump's multiagency initiative is the early diagnosis, prevention and treatment of HIV.
Between his diagnosis and now, Alex spent six-and-a-half years in a relationship, and said the possibility - however tiny - of transmitting HIV to his partner was a source of anxiety. "Timely identification of HIV-infected people and provision of effective treatment lead to near normal health and lifespan and virtual elimination of the risk of HIV transmission", Cohen added.
In the study, the men with HIV had been taking antiretroviral therapy for an average of four years before it began, making the virus undetectable, defined as fewer than 200 copies per ml of blood.