5 key findings from the latest studies on HIV
– Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can reduce the viral load in the blood and other bodily fluids of people with HIV to undetectable levels.
– A research study known as HPTN 052 found that the risk of HIV transmission through condomless sex between heterosexual couples was “extremely low” when the HIV-positive partner was on treatment.
– A three-year European study of more than 44,000 condomless sex acts between gay and heterosexual couples reported no transmission of HIV when one of the partners was HIV-positive and undergoing ART.
– The average risk of HIV infection can be relatively low in some cases regardless of viral load. The average per-act transmission risk for receptive anal sex without condoms, for example, has been estimated at 1.4 per cent when the viral load is detectable.
– Undetectable viral load doesn’t necessarily mean that there is no virus but that the amount of HIV is below the level tests can detect. Tests in Canada cannot detect HIV in cases where there are fewer than 40 copies of HIV per ml of blood.
Read more from this week’s Being HIV+ package here.