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Undetectable HIV safe for partner

Thursday July 26th, 2018

Effective HIV treatment ensures men are not at risk of passing the infection to partners, according to a new analysis.

The work was carried out at University College London, UK.

Dr Alison Rodger and her team carried out an observational study of sexual HIV transmission among nearly 1,000 gay male couples living in 14 European countries.

Couples had already chosen not to use condoms at recruitment, and the HIV positive person was on effective anti-retroviral treatment. HIV viral load testing of the HIV positive partner was carried out every six to 12 months, and the HIV negative partner was tested for the infection.

Dr Rodger explains that the study "was set up to address a question of great relevance in the daily life of people living with HIV". The researchers worked with representatives of HIV organisations to make the study as relevant as possible to real life.

The research found that where the virus is reduced to undetectable levels, men are sexually non-infectious. The full details were presented at the 2018 AIDS conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

"Having an undetectable viral load is as protective for gay men as it is for heterosexual couples," the researchers found.

Dr Rodger says: "The PARTNER2 study was designed to find whether HIV transmission occurs in gay men when viral load was suppressed. Despite these couples having sex without condoms 75,000 times we did not find a single case.

"PARTNER2 data provides robust evidence for gay men that the risk of HIV transmission with suppressive anti-retroviral treatment is effectively zero, which supports the message of the international campaign.

"These results underline the importance of earlier diagnosis and treatment and will improve the quality of life for HIV positive people and their partners globally."

Tags: Europe | Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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