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article imageNew treatment fully suppresses HIV infection

By Tim Sandle     May 4, 2019 in Science
A major study into HIV has found that men with the infection had the virus completely suppressed by antiretroviral drugs. Furthermore, there was no chance, according to the research, of the men with HIV infecting their partners.
Such is the significance of the study and of the new drug that it means if each person with HIV was to be treated, then there would be no further infections and HIV infection could be virtually eliminated from the human population. This is, of course, theoretical and would require that all HIV-positive people globally having access to testing and effective treatment.
The European research examined 972 gay male couples, in situations where one of the men was living with HIV and taking antiretroviral therapy and where the other was HIV negative. The couples were studies over a period of eight years, from 2010-2017. During this time, the couples reported practicing anal sex without condoms a total of 76,088 times. The researchers estimated that by virtue of the medication, 472 cases of HIV are most likely to have been prevented.
The research found, as The Guardian summarizes, that the level of evidence for HIV transmission risk through sex without any form of protection between serodifferent gay couples with the HIV-positive partner taking virally suppressive antiretroviral therapy was zero.
The management of HIV/AIDS typically includes the use of multiple antiretroviral drugs in an attempt to control HIV infection. The treatment regime is normally through the combination of antiretroviral drugs selected to maximally suppress the HIV virus and also to slowdown or stop the progression of HIV disease.
Speaking with the BBC, one of the researchers, Professor Alison Rodger, sates: "This powerful message can help end the HIV pandemic by preventing HIV transmission, and tackling the stigma and discrimination that many people with HIV face."
The research findings have been published in the medical journal The Lancet, with the research paper titled "Risk of HIV transmission through condomless sex in serodifferent gay couples with the HIV-positive partner taking suppressive antiretroviral therapy (PARTNER): final results of a multicentre, prospective, observational study."
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