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Effective HIV treatment means ‘zero’ risk of transmitting virus

Effective HIV treatment means ‘zero’ risk of transmitting virus

A landmark study has shown that the risk of people on effective HIV treatment transmitting the virus to a partner is ‘effectively zero’.

Terrence Higgins Trust has welcomed a landmark study which has shown that the risk of people on effective HIV treatment transmitting the virus to a partner is ‘effectively zero’.

The PARTNER study - the world's largest study of HIV-positive people who have had condomless sex with their HIV-negative partners – has found no linked HIV transmissions after couples had sex 58,000 times without condoms.

Antiretroviral treatment works by reducing the level of HIV in a person's bloodstream to undetectable levels (also known as their viral load).

Dr Michael Brady, Medical Director at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “We can now say with confidence that if you are taking HIV medication as prescribed, and have had an undetectable viral load for over six months, you cannot pass HIV onto your partner, with or without a condom. The risk is effectively zero.

“The landmark findings from this study will give confidence to people living with HIV who want to date, start a family and have a happy, healthy sex life without fear of passing HIV onto their partner.

“This is one of the biggest developments in our knowledge of HIV since effective antiretroviral therapy was first introduced around 20 years ago. It has the potential to dispel the stigma, discrimination and myths that so many people living with HIV face on a daily basis; especially around the risk of HIV transmission. It’s great that we can now give a really positive message that effective treatment with a fully suppressed virus means there is no risk of transmission to others.”


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