The end of the era of AIDS can be a matter of time after a large-scale study of 1,000 males whose HIV infection was completely suppressed with antiretroviral drugs, didn’t infect their partners. “The success of the therapy means that if all HIV-positive people received treatment, further spread of the infection would not happen,” writes the British newspaper The Guardian.
Among the nearly 1000 pairs of men throughout Europe, where one partner is living with HIV received treatment to suppress the virus, no cases of transmission of HIV-negative partner during sex without a condom. Although during the eight-year study 15 men were HIV-positive, DNA testing showed that it was sex with someone other than their partner.
“This is great. Our results provide compelling evidence that gay men risk of HIV transmission when antiretroviral therapy is equal to zero. Our results support the idea that undetectable viral load makes HIV indescribable,” said Professor Alison Rodgers from University College London, one of the leaders of the study published in the medical journal Lancet.
Earlier studies have also shown that antiretroviral therapy protects heterosexual couples where one partner has HIV.
“This powerful message will help put an end to the HIV pandemic by preventing the transmission of infection and fight stigma and discrimination faced by many people with HIV, added Rogers. Now the focus should be on disseminating this information. All HIV-infected people should have access to testing and effective treatment to maintain undetectable viral load”.
Timely HIV testing and antiretroviral treatment in the end to end transmission
Health experts recognize the value of research and believe that it should push the world to develop strategies for testing and treatment of everyone who has HIV. But to achieve maximum benefit from the treatment will be difficult, especially for men who have sex with men.
“People are not always easy to undergo HIV testing or to find access to medical care. In addition, fear of stigma, homophobia and other adverse social forces continue to jeopardize the treatment of HIV, said Myron S. Cohen of the Institute for global health and infectious diseases in North Carolina(USA). — Diagnosis of HIV infection difficult in the early stages, when the transmission is particularly intense. This restriction also compromises the treatment as prevention strategy”.
Late diagnosis remains a serious problem, which still accounts for about 43% of new HIV diagnoses.
“Now we have convincing scientific evidence of how the treatment will effectively prevent further sexual transmission of HIV,” said Professor Jens Lundgren, infectious disease at Copenhagen University (Denmark)
Today, scientists and doctors are expressing optimism about the future treatment of AIDS. “In the course of these studies, antiretroviral drugs have become more effective, reliable, durable, easier to administer, they are well tolerated and much cheaper, he said. The results become another catalyst for a universal strategy “test and treat”. It pushes us to the end of AIDS.”
In 2017, there were almost 40 million people living with HIV. 21.7 million of them were on antiretroviral therapy. According to the Center for public health (CHP), in 2018 the number of HIV-infected Ukrainians could exceed 240 thousand About 40% of them do not know about their diagnosis, unwittingly endangering the life and health of others.