The current therapy for HIV-positive people reliably prevents infection of the partner. This confirms a new long-term study.
It could be the beginning of the end of the AIDS epidemic. A long-term study has shown that men whose HIV infection is completely suppressed by antiretroviral drugs can no longer infect their male partners. An earlier study had already demonstrated this fact in heterosexual couples. This means that if any HIV-positive person received such therapy, there would be no further infection, as the Guardian writes.
For the study, 1000 male couples were followed for eight years. One partner was HIV-positive and received antiretroviral combination therapy to suppress the virus. The other partner was and remained HIV-negative, although the couples had sex without a condom, as the researchers report in the journal “The Lancet”.
Although 15 men were infected with HIV during the study period, DNA tests showed that this happened during sex with other men who did not take any medication.
«Risk equal to zero»
Alison Rodgers of University College London, a co-author of the study, said, “Our findings conclusively prove that for gay men, the risk of HIV transmission with antiretroviral combination therapy is nil.”
She added that now more efforts are needed to spread this strong message. In addition, it must be ensured that all HIV-positive people have access to tests, effective therapy and support in adherence to keep the number of viruses at undetectable levels.
About 20,000 HIV-positive people live in Switzerland. In 2017, 445 new HIV diagnoses were made – 16 percent fewer than in the previous year. This reached a historic low.