Undetectable equals Untransmittable, better known by the tradename U=U, has just been scientifically proven true as far as two recent studies indicate.
Gaystarnews.com has just reported on the findings from two worldwide studies that confirm those who are living with HIV and adhere to their medication regimen cannot infect a sexual partner during condomless intercourse. This goes for both heterosexual sexual encounters as well as homosexual sexual encounters.
The first PARTNER study in 2014 looked at sero-discordant couples (where one is HIV positive and one is HIV negative), who have condomless sex.
Where the HIV positive partner is on effective HIV medication and has an undetectable viral load, it found not a single incidence of HIV transmission between the couples. This held true in over 40,000 incidents of condomless sex.
However, the first PARTNER study looked mainly at opposite-sex couples. Although it did include some same-sex couples, researchers wanted to do a follow-up study that looked exclusively at male couples who engage in anal sex. HIV is transmitted more easily via anal sex than vaginal sex.
The remarkable findings of the two studies were announced at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam this July 2018. If you think over 40,000 incidences with no transmissions found in the study between serodiscordant couples in the Partner 1 research is astonishing, then the Partner 2 study is truly going to make you feel pleased.
PARTNER 2 was a 14-country study. It looked at 635 gay couples, in addition to the 337 gay couples already recruited for PARTNER 1.
Participants reported nearly 77,000 acts of condomless sex. The study found not a single incident of HIV transmission when the HIV-positive partner had a viral load under 200.
In fact, together with another study, Opposites Attract, researchers have been unable to find a single case of HIV transmission in 126,000 acts of condomless anal sex between partners with differing HIV status.
With widespread education for U=U and PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis: a daily HIV preventative medication for people living without the virus), there’s a good chance that HIV infection rates can decrease drastically. For those who have felt they might have been exposed to the virus, there’s also medication that you can take within a 72-hour window after exposure called Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).