A large new study of 972 serodiscordant (one partner is HIV-positive, the other negative) couples has revealed antiretroviral drugs are effective at eliminating risk of HIV transmission.
CNN reports: “A European study of nearly 1,000 male couples, where one partner with HIV was taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) to suppress the virus, has found that there were no new cases of transmission to the HIV-negative partner during sex without a condom. HIV can lead to AIDS. While 15 men were infected with HIV over the course of the eight-year study, genetic testing showed that it was a result of sexual relationships with someone other than their partner.”
Wrote the researchers: “Our findings provide conclusive evidence that the risk of HIV transmission through anal sex when HIV viral load is suppressed is effectively zero. Among the 782 serodifferent gay couples followed for almost 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. In the absence of ART, on the basis of the frequency and type of sex, for receptive condomless anal sex acts alone approximately 472 transmissions (95% CI 83–714) would have been expected.15 Our results give equivalence of evidence for gay men as for heterosexual couples and indicate that the risk of HIV transmission when HIV viral load is suppressed is effectively zero for both anal and vaginal sex.”