Great news from the most recent data of The Partners Study that looked at rates of HIV transmission between couples where one partner is living with HIV and the other is not.
This study has shown that when a HIV positive person is on treatment that suppresses the HIV virus to a “non detectable level”, that is < 200 copies of virus per ml of blood, there have been no cases of HIV transmission.
This demonstrates that HIV treatment not only offers great health benefits for people living with HIV but also helps reassure that even if sex happens without condoms the HIV virus is not able to be transmitted.
To me this demonstrates a few key points:
- HIV transmission is most likely occurring in people who have not yet had access treatment. This may be because they are not aware of their HIV status due to recent infection or they not have been tested in some time. All sexually active people should have a full sexual health screening every year.
- I hope this data will help reduce discrimination against people living with HIV. People who are able to access treatment are taking a strong role in control of their own health but also have a vital role when it comes to our goal of zero new HIV cases by 2020.
Bottom Line From The Partners Study:
Question: What is the risk of HIV transmission though condomless sex from an HIV-positive person taking suppressive ART?
Findings: In this observational study in HIV-serodifferent heterosexual and MSM couples having ongoing condomless sex over 1238 couple-years of follow-up, there were no cases of within-couple HIV transmission (upper 95% confidence limit of 0.30/100 couple-years of follow-up).