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Medications prevent HIV transmission even during unprotected sexual intercourse
A long-term study has shown that men who undergo effective HIV treatment, which suppresses the virus, do not infect their partner with the AIDS virus, even during unprotected sexual intercourse. The study could ensure that AIDS will soon be eradicated. Because "Safersex" is still not practiced to protect against communicable diseases, even if these, like AIDS, can be fatal.
End the AIDS epidemic
The United Nations agreed on an ambitious plan a few years ago: the global AIDS epidemic is expected to end by 2030. However, almost 37 million people are still living with the AIDS virus HIV. According to experts, only 59 percent of them receive antiretroviral therapy. This treatment can prevent the transmission of the deadly virus, even during unprotected sex, as a study has now shown.
Medicines for the HI virus
Only a few weeks ago, British scientists reported a medical breakthrough: According to the experts, a man from England was cured of the HI virus.
Research has also made great strides in prevention. Years ago, it was possible to develop a drug that could massively reduce the number of new HIV infections in men.
The means to protect against AIDS has now also been approved in the EU.
And there are also medicines that suppress the AIDS virus, so that the virus is not transmitted even when the sex is unprotected.
This has been shown in a long-term study that was recently published in the medical journal "The Lancet".
New infections are prevented
Almost 1,000 gay couples took part in the Europe-wide study led by the University College London (UCL) and the University of Copenhagen over a period of eight years.
In each couple, one partner was not infected with the HI virus, the other was infected and was treated with the so-called antiretroviral therapy (ART).
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This treatment keeps the virus at bay. However, those affected are not completely exempt from the AIDS pathogen.
According to a UCL report, there was no infection among the study participants, although the couples did not use condoms during sexual intercourse.
A previous study had already shown that the drugs can also prevent infections in heterosexual couples.
The researchers estimate that the treatment prevented around 470 HIV infections during the study period.
However, they also point out that the results cannot simply be generalized.
Because while the study participants were on average 38 years old, most new infections with the HI virus occur in people under 25.
Transmission risk is zero
"Our research results provide conclusive evidence that the risk of HIV transmission among gay men under ART is zero," said study leader Prof. Alison Rodger from UCL.
According to the scientists, this supports the thesis that HIV-positive people, in whose blood the virus is no longer detectable, can no longer transmit the pathogen.
According to Rodger, this finding could "help end the HIV pandemic by preventing HIV transmission."
Professor Jens Lundgren, Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Rigshospitalet at Copenhagen University added: "We have now provided conclusive scientific evidence of how the treatment effectively prevents further sexual transmission of HIV."
Doctors reported in March of this year that a patient from England had been released from the HI virus. After 18 months, the infected person showed no detectable viruses in his body. This makes the patient the first in the world to be rid of the hi-virus. In the final stages, the virus triggers the deadly disease AIDS. More information can be found here. (ad)