A new study shows that the use of suppressive antiretroviral drugs reduces the risk of sexual transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) between partners to zero.
Conducted by researchers at the University College London, the study examined the risk of HIV transmission through condomless sex in gay couples with the HIV-positive partner taking suppressive antiretroviral therapy.
Over the space of eight years, the study monitored more than 1,000 male couples in Europe where one partner tested HIV positive and underwent antiretroviral therapy.
At the end of the study period, no case of virus transmission was found among men who stayed faithful to their partners and had unprotected sex.
DNA testings published in The Lancet journal revealed that 15 men who were infected with the virus during the study period had sex with someone other than their partners and were not subject to the therapy.
According to the researchers, the study validates the claim that once HIV is suppressed with antiretroviral drugs, gay patients can have sex without infecting their partners.
“Our findings provide conclusive evidence for gay men that the risk of HIV transmission with suppressive ART is zero,” Alison Rodger, co-researcher and professor at UCL said.
The study is the latest scientific inquiry assessing HIV risks between gay partners — where one tested HIV-positive and the other negative.
In March, researchers had announced the ‘London patient’ as the second man to be ‘functionally cured’ of HIV following a bone marrow transplant from an HIV-resistant donor.
A Canadian study conducted in 2018 had also stated that the widespread of HIV can be curbed if suppressed with medications.
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