Health

'Zero' risk of HIV transmission in gay men receiving treatment, study says

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No HIV transmissions found among nearly 1,000 LGBTI male couples on antiretroviral treatment

The authors of the study noted several limitations, including that the average age of the HIV-negative men was 38.

Viral loads tests show how much virus is in a millilitre of blood and are measured in copies/mL.

In the majority of cases, people reach this level of undetectability after having taken the ART for six months. The researchers said about 472 transmissions of HIV would have been expected without the treatment.

Over the course of eight years, just 15 of the HIV-negative men involved contracted the virus-however, researchers were able to confirm through genetic testing that none of those men contracted the virus from their partner.

A groundbreaking advancement has been made in the fight against HIV: a study on HIV-carrying men found that the risk of viral transmission is zero if the virus is suppressed by antiretrovirals. PARTNER2 only recruited gay male couples that were serodifferent.

Another study confirms gay men LWHIV on effective treatment can't pass the virus on. The "undetectable=untransmittable" concept, shorthanded as "U=U", is relatively young campaign launched in 2016 to try to help explain that medical suppression of HIV so that its viral levels don't show up in blood tests means that it can not be transmitted to other people. An earlier phase of the study proved the same was true for heterosexual couples.

Also, the study was published in the Lancet Medical Journey and had evaluated the risk of HIV transmission between gay male partners.

The Guardian newspaper reported on the findings with the headline declaring "End to AIDS in sight", and noting, "The success of the medicine means that if everyone with HIV were fully treated, there would be no further infections".

The number of deaths dropped by 50,000 year-on-year to 940,000, compared to 1.9 million in 2005 when a mere 2.1 million infected people had access to life-lengthening ART.

She then added, "This powerful message can help end the HIV pandemic by preventing HIV transmission".

"Increased efforts must now focus on wider dissemination of this powerful message and ensuring that all HIV-positive people have access to testing, effective treatment, adherence support and linkage to care".

Aside from relentlessly finding a cure for HIV/AIDS, scientists have been working on ending the epidemic by also preventing the spread of the virus.

What is antiretroviral therapy (ART)?

In each case one partner had HIV and was taking anti-retroviral pills, and one was free of the virus. It can not cure HIV, but it reduces viral load to a level that is undetectable in the blood. Anybody with HIV is advised to start ART immediately, as soon as they have been diagnosed.

Here's what CDC said in a statement in September of 2017: "Scientific advances have shown that antiretroviral therapy (ART) preserves the health of people living with HIV".

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