A new study on HIV drug treatments suggests that the risk of passing on the disease is eliminated entirely, according to CNN, signaling new success in bringing an end to the world’s HIV/AIDs epidemic.
The study, published in the journal The Lancet, followed almost 1,000 gay male couples over eight years, with an HIV-negative partner and an HIV-positive partner taking antiretroviral drugs. In the study, they found not a single case of HIV transmission to from one partner to another.
The study suggests that if everyone in the world accurately knew their HIV status, had access to and was willing to take antiretroviral drugs, there would be no new cases in the world. The finding represents a new era in the effort to end the world’s HIV epidemic. The researchers estimate that the drugs prevent 472 transmissions in the study
The drugs reduce levels of the virus in the body to very low levels. The experts argue that “undetectable equals untransmittable” should be basic knowledge for doctors and patients everywhere.
“We’ve got a way to go to get people easier access to testing and treatment, but if we could get global coverage, then we could really make headway in eliminating the virus,” according to University College London professor Alison Rodger, who co-led the research.
Earlier research had suggested the drugs protect from transmission in heterosexual couples, and the study completes the research, according to Rodgers.
“The question has been definitively answered; there is no need for further research. It’s not often we get to say that. Finding ways to get the knowledge in practice is what we need to do next.”
Experts warn that, especially for gay men, stigma and homophobia stand in the way of testing and treatment.
In February, Trump announced a goal to eliminate HIV transmissions in the US within ten years, with plans to promote early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment. At the same time, his administration has cut funding for prevention and treatment programs in the past.
In the US, experts estimate that 1.1 million people are infected with HIV, with 15 percent being unaware of their status. About half are suppressing the virus with antiretroviral drugs.