There was a study which took 8 years, and 1,000 male couples were included in it from all over Europe, in which one of the partners had HIV and was receiving antiretroviral treatment in order to suppress the virus.
According to a study which was published in Lancet medical journal, it was reported that the HIV was not transmitted during unprotected sex (sex without a condom), therefore none of the HIV-free partners were infected with the virus.
This virus is damaging the immune system’s cells, therefore weakening its ability to fight against everyday diseases and infections.
But, throughout the study 15 men were infected with HIV, however the DNA tests proved that the virus had been passed on during sex, but not with their partner, with somebody else who was not on the treatment.
Professor Alison Rodgers, from the University College London, was working as a co-leader of the paper, and she gave the explanation of the significance of the results.
According to The Guardian, she said:
It’s fantastic, it’s brilliant. This puts this issue, pretty much to bed.
According to our results, the evidence for the gay population is that the risk of HIV transmission with the suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART) is ZERO. The message of the international U=U campaign is supported by our findings as well, which is an undetectable viral load is making the virus untransmittable .
This is a very strong and powerful message, which can help with the end of the HIV pandemic, by preventing it from transmission, tackling the stigma, and also the discrimination of the people with HIV face.
With the help of this powerful message, and a little bit more effort, now the people that are HIV positive, now have effective treatment, access to testing, adherence support and linkage to care, in order to maintain an undetectable viral load.
Back in 2017, according to the statistics there were about 40 million people who were living with HIV all across the globe, and only 21.7 million were on the antiretroviral treatment.
According to the National AIDS Trust (NAT), also in 2017 there were 101,600 people in the UK who were living with HIV, but unfortunately only 1 in 12 of those were not diagnosed.
Myron Cohen, of the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, responded to the study posted in Lancet, in the response he said that these findings should push us forward to find a strategy in order to treat and test everyone who is HIV positive.
However he admitted there are still some limitations, saying that:
Not always people with HIV will easily find access to care or tests, since homophobia, stigma, fear and some other adverse social factors are continuing to compromise the HIV treatment.
In the early stages of the virus, it is very difficult to diagnose it, when the transmission is most efficient, therefore this limitation is also compromising the treatment as prevention strategy.
NAT’s chief executive, Deborah Gold, said in a recent report that it is very empowering to hear that the HIV treatment has the ability to prevent the transmission of the virus, she also added that the government funding is cutting to specialists health services, which would make if far more difficult to achieve a goal of eliminating the transmission, by 2030.