HIV breakthrough as study finds drugs prevent transmission

AIDS Drugs Prevent Sexual Transmission Of HIV In Gay Men

New Orleans and Baton Rouge joined the Louisiana Department of Health to support the U=U Campaign, which highlights evidence that people living with HIV can't spread the virus to sexual partners if they are receiving care and taking medications to control the virus so that it cannot be detected.

The study was published yesterday in the medical journal The Lancet and is the result of an eight-year-long study following almost 1,000 gay male couples in Europe, the largest study that has been done yet on HIV treatment.

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

But the fact that couples can have unprotected sex for years without passing on the virus was still worth noting, experts said.

"Diagnosis of HIV infection is hard in the early stages of infection when transmission is very efficient, and this limitation also compromises the treatment as prevention strategy", he added.

Researchers estimate that ART prevented around 470 HIV transmissions within couples during the study period.

Another study confirms gay men LWHIV on effective treatment can't pass the virus on.

"Among the 782 different gay couples followed for nearly 1600 eligible couple-years of follow-up, which included more than 76,000 reports of condomless sex, we found zero cases of within-couple HIV transmission".

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Although 15 of the men among the 972 gay couples did become infected with HIV during the follow-up, genetic tests showed their HIV strains had been acquired from another sexual partner.

"Our findings provide conclusive evidence for gay men that the risk of HIV transmission with suppressive ART is zero", said Alison Rodger, from University College London, who co-lead the research.

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.

For this phase of the study, researchers only recruited gay male couples.

In the United Kingdom, 98% of individuals who have been diagnosed as HIV-positive are receiving ART and 97% of those have viral loads that are undetectable, meaning they can not transmit the virus to others.

"This is important because without a positive partner being on treatment, anal sex is at higher risk for HIV transmission compared to vaginal sex", the study said.

AIDS has killed 35 million people since it emerged in the 1980s and 78 million people have been infected with HIV.

"This has an incredible impact on the lives of people living with HIV and is a powerful message to address HIV-related stigma", he concludes. "We think this is vital to addressing stigma". While this study offers renewed hope to contain the virus, there's still a long way to go and we need sustained efforts to be able to finally deal with this devastating virus.

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