Health : Less HIV, Makes HIV Less Infectious

A recent study evaluated whether taking HIV medications early would benefit an HIV-positive person and help stop the transmission of HIV to their non-infected partner.

The study, conducted in 13 countries, enrolled 1,763 couples in which one person in the relationship was HIV-positive and the other was HIV-negative.

It was concluded that HIV-positive people who took antiretroviral therapy (ART) reduced their risk of transmitting the virus to their partners by 96%, compared with those who did not immediately start treatment. Antiretroviral drugs work by lowering the ‘viral load’ – the amount of HIV in the body.

The study was so successful that it was stopped four years before it was scheduled to end.

Current U.S. treatment guidelines call for antiretroviral treatment to begin when a patient’s CD4 count falls below 500, while most international guidelines require waiting until it drops below 350. Participants in the study had CD4 counts between 350 and 550 at the beginning of the study.

Examinations of the results last month found 39 new HIV infections. Twenty-eight of the infections clearly came from the person’s partner, based on genetic analysis of the virus; seven were thought to have arisen from other sources; and four probably came from other sources but researchers were not sure.

Among the 28 who developed new infections that clearly seemed to come from their partners, 27 were in the group in which treatment with antiretroviral drugs was deferred.

There were 23 deaths in the study, 10 in the immediate-treatment group and 13 in the delayed ART group. The difference was not ‘statistically significant’, and the researchers have not yet analyzed the causes.

Although this study clearly points to new possibilities for prevention through early antiretroviral therapy, the findings cannot be stated as being applicable to gay men as 97% of those enrolled were heterosexual, with 873 women and 890 men participating.


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  1. Valentin Vazquez


  2. Charles

    HIV is NOTHING to fool around with. Anyone living with HIV like me can tell you all the anguish you go through when you find out you are hiv+. It’s no picnic….BE CAREFUL!!!!!!!

  3. CR

    Having lost two of my best friends and knowing three hot boys I have fucked off a4a over two years are now hiv positive; I am grateful for all advances in slowing this insidious virus.

  4. Tom

    This is a load of crap. Please post a photo of the actual HIV virus….bet you cant find one.
    Regardless I always play safe.

  5. Steve

    What are barebackers and evangelicals invariably so self-righteous? Is it because, deep down, they know they’re lying to themselves?

  6. Rob

    And just what learned institution conducted this so-called ‘study’? US Federal guidelines DO NOT CONDONE this type of “will they catch it?” study. If you notice that this blog doesn’t say who or where the ‘study’ was conducted, thus calling into question bothe the source and the credibility of the data. Notice again that this is supposedly for hetero couples. Let’s get some credible data BEFORE we spread mis-information by putting out a headline “Less HIV, Makes HIV less infectious”.

  7. Brian

    Nice to see research dollars hard at work. Next, they’ll evaluate whether keeping fire extinguishers in the home reduces the likelihood of cooking fires becoming dangerous.

  8. Jason

    I am crying total BS on this one! The study was so successful that it was stopped four years before it was scheduled to end. This means the study told them what they wanted to hear, and that no one was really looking for this to be an unbiased study. The second the results looked like what they wanted they ended the study. I want to know if the study was funded in any way shape or form by the makers of the HIV meds used in the study.

  9. kevin

    Scott sounds like a person who either don’t care about life or trying to infect others like someone done to him. All studies need real patrons who actually believe life changing methods is right around the corner. So in other words, don’t be sorry at the end, but be careful and wise in the beggining and your life will stay in tact. Remember, there is no stupid question when it comes to sex, only a stupid person in todays society if you don’t inquire about your partner. Keep it real and stay alive.

  10. greg

    Been HIV* since late 1987, diagnosed in 91. Luckily my doc wasted no time in starting meds. I am Exremely healthy other than AVN and glad to hear this news, as others will be able to enjoy a long life with th ones thy love.

  11. James

    This, then, concurs with the former Swedish study a few years ago that pretty much declared the same thing. It pissed the US CDC off something fierce. I still think our government tries to keep it’s sheep, the American people, under control using fear. The sooner people wise up to the ploys our government uses to control us the sooner we will be brave enough to unanimously demand change. Until then, BAAAAAA!!!

  12. blog

    Guys, remember I told you to be respectful on our blog. Any degrading comments will be removed… If you want to debate on someone’s opinion it’s fine, but stay polite with any users/members !

  13. Nick

    While all of the criticism of this study is warranted, I think the outcome is, at the very least, encouraging. While I am HIV-, the question over the last few years has been “If my viral load is undetectable, can I still pass on the virus?” Scott’s message is unfortunate as it shows a lack of concern for others. Scott, please try to show a little empathy as it is an attractive quality. 🙂

  14. scott

    to all of you throwing your negative comments at me…….(censured) its not your life-its mine. gays are not the spreaders of HIV-heteros are. they started the epidemic. DUH!. 2011-and you people dont know anymore now than in 1981.

  15. scott

    if i do not want to use a condom-that is my choice-not yours. its none of your business if i take meds or not. i am not required to devulge any personal info about myself here. that is private and confidential.

  16. sporty

    The US is not the only country that has research on HIV. Other western countries do the same, with the same quality measures on it. So pls US-boys don’t act as if you’re the only guys who search for the answers. This said… i read somewhere (i think it was that Swiss guidelines doesn’t ask to use condoms for those on meds with undetectable load anymore. Don’t know if this is for M2M or straight sex. But anyway… there are other diseases around like hepC. So better be safe than sorry…

  17. John

    What people need to be is realistic about sexuality and a mans nature about sexuality. Sexuality is supposed to be impulsive, spontaneous and animalistic. You take those characteristics away your not having sex. You are just going though the motions for release and thats it.
    Once researchers,government and the public start being realistic on the limits on human impulsive nature when it comes too sex then we probably will get some where.

    • blog

      @John, that’s your way of seing things! Nobody said that sex HAS to be animalistic, impulsive, spontaneous. Maybe it is for you… But for me before having any sexual relations, I shower, I make sure I have lube and condoms and then I’m ready!

  18. Jerry

    I have been HIV for 6 years now and chose to go on meds immediately. I have found i have less fear about the HIV vs. all the guys that shoot up and share needles and transfer Hep C. Been playing with a hot neg bottom for 3 years now, bareback, and he is still neg.

  19. John

    @ Excuse me Blog but those are preparations for the act of having sex and not the actual act itself. Lets make that very clear. Maybe I wasn’t very clear on my point. So I will readdress it. My point being is that sex (intercourse) no matter how you look at it, is a primitive and fundamental act of human nature. Furthermore the act of sex and to be more explicit the process leading up and during ejaculation has more to do with hormone: testerone, oxytocin, follicle stimulating Hormone also know as FSH and LH aka Luteinizing hormone then mental facilitation (fantasizing and/or thinking about the process of the act). Testerone being the main culprit and oxytocin for male arousal and ejaculation. The other two are more for the process of developing spermatazoa. All men have been through puberty and can attest that dealing with hormones can be quite challenging to say the least. Now I am not saying that due to hormones is the only reason men don’t put a on condom during sex but it does factor into the equation. The purpose of having sex is to “cum” right or are you going to tell me it is to please your man or better yet to show your love for your partner. Those are all good reason to have sex but they are not the primary reasons they are secondary at best. Yes we are thinking, rationalizing being but we can not take away from the prime directive of life and that is procreation. And yes homosexual men still have the need for the act of procreation and plays a very big part in this dllemma we have been addressing since the 80’s began. Lets not be knieve about the situation. HIV can prevented by wearing a condom but where this plan fails is getting everyone to wear one each and everytime one has sex. Some people do and I applaud them but good percentage don’t and that their and their partners choice. I quite knieve to think that we can expect everyone to do so because it is socially responsible. You can control what people do in the bedroom.

  20. Stephan

    @Rob this was an international study (Phase III randomized clinical trial) that was conducted by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases which is part of the National Institute of Health.

    The study was designed to evaluate the optimal time to begin antiretroviral therapy and the data is VERY creditable.

    The study was titled HPTN 052 the link to more information is here:

    @John thank you for your thoughtful response. You are right in that there is a drive for sex that is biologically-based but the libido is mostly governed by psychology.

    Sexual behavior is can be changed and the biological drive for sex can be controlled.

    We all employ some form of sexual risk reduction strategy when the ‘urge’ arises and we choose to act on it. Some people’s strategy is to practice safer sex all the time by wearing a condom, others is to never wear a condom, while others is something in between, (considering the age, race, weight, physical appearance, sexual history as disclosed, marital status, self-reported HIV status, viral load if Positive, etc.) and then decide what sex acts to engage in (anal, oral, J/O, etc.).

    Every risk reduction strategy can fail (condoms can break, and your personal ‘formula for safety’ can certainly fail).

    I believe that every human has the right to have sex in whatever form they choose (condom, no condom, or something else). But no one has the right to knowingly infect others with HIV.

    But not everyone that is infected has the option to protect their partner because 1 in 5 (21%) that are HIV infected do NOT know it.

    Everyone that engages in sex, especially men who have sex with men, must be tested. Even if we do not care to know our HIV status for ourselves we need to know our status so that we can be sure we are not infecting others.

    I think it is also important to remember that useing condoms can be difficult for many reasons:

    Information such as what has been learned from this study and the relatively new information on PrEP and PEP is extremely important as we need more options to ensure that no matter what risk reduction strategy we employ it will not fail.

  21. JD

    I always do it safe and I got tested not to long ago and came back negative and Im going to keep it that way b/c now I found me someone special and I want both of us to be happy but you cant make people do something if they dont want to but I just ask that everyone be careful and get tested b/c if you have HIV or something and you do know it and dont tell you can get in trouble for that and you can go to jail for that. So just respect everyone b/c thats people life you messing with if you dont tell them.

  22. Sullivan

    the cure for HIV/AIDS is nearing, they just need to bring it to fruition around the world, because it’s not as scary and frightening as it used to be in the early 90’s. have yall heard about the stemcell transplant that supposedly cured this guy who was HIV+? if not, i got the article.

  23. Fritz

    Really??? House of Numbers. The viral load test does not specifically measure HIV. The HIV test does not measure HIV virus. Not ONE TEST measures HIV virus. They all point to theory and money…and nothing else. I almost got railroaded by the “HIV Medical Industry” due to “theory” and a mistake. Never again!

  24. Trendy

    People have their opinion until their opinion become judgemental. My opinion: It’s EVERYBODY’s choice to use a condom or not under normal circumstances. People lie about their status or don’t know their status, but it’s still up to the other person. I have lost friends (especially in 1990’s) to AIDS, but I lost friends to other illnesses and accidents as well. HIV is not the end of the world and HIV negative people are not better than those who are positive. Having condomless sex does not mean these are bad people. It’s simply their choice. Gay men have random sex on the regular; some with comdoms and some without, but just because you chose to wear condom, doesn’t mean you’re better than the guy who doesn’t. In the public eye, you’re no different from the next gay guy.

  25. Arnaldo

    I don’t understand why some guys take a chance to get infected. A condom would be one of the most inexpensive ways to self protect while enjoying sex, and knowing the chances of getting infected are very minimal. No 100%. A condom can break at any moment during intercourse. The cost of a condom in comparison with medications and the physical, mental, and psychological anguish, plus the social repercussions; family, friends, classmates, co-workers, religion, work related, etc. The price of a condom vs all these are less than minimal!

  26. Ted

    We should at all times have safe sex. Condoms are a must. But the real dangers are sexually transmitted diseases. “HIV” is not a disease. It is a retrovirus, and it is questionable whether it is harmful at all. Humans have hundreds of retroviruses in their bodies. It has never been successfully proven that HIV causes AIDS. There are other factors.
    AIDS is also is not a disease, it is a syndrome. It is an umbrella definition to cover a number of ailments. AIDS is real enough. But HIV is a phantom, it cannot even be detected in human blood. That’s why someone who is “positive” is positive for antibodies, not the actual retrovirus- they can’t find it!
    Stay very healthy, don’t use poppers or harmful drugs, and HIV positive or not, you will not get AIDS.

  27. Drew

    I am so scared. I had sex (bareback) with a guy who later said he was HIV+! This was Sunday morning. He didn’t cum inside me (at least he said he didn’t) and he says his viral count is undetectable. BUT he’s still HIV+….. is there anything I can do to keep the virus from surviving inside me? I have to wait a week before antibodies show up in the quck test, right? Don’t know what to do.

  28. R

    Drew, or anyone who finds out about the undetectable person after anal sex, should go ahead and get tested for peace of mind. But reality is, undetectable means the test could not find virus to the level of sensitivity of the test. It is the same answer as a negative test. It means a “negative” person could theoretically have virus below the detection threshold. It means an “undetectable” reading could be that number, down to zero. The most sensitive test reads down to 40/ml. Aids can be in the tens of thousands/ml. Your statistical likelihood is small. Don’t panic. Above all, studies have shown that, in persons on antiretroviral drug therapy, Med(icated) Undetectable, the RNA in any lingering virus if found, was typically not viable for replication. So don’t panic. Chances are extremely remote of your having been infected. Now, on the other note, if he told you after sex, at least he told you. He has at least some conscience. If you overheard him later, confront him! If you have to, turn him in to the health department. They will read him the riot act. But again, don’t panic. Stress harms immunity anyway. Best wishes.

  29. antwan

    Scott you are awesome brother to many un – educated fools out there who talk, write, and say bad things on a virus they no nothing about. Iam glad you brought it up about how heterosexual started it which is 100% facts and ignorant people try to blame the gay community which is not cool.

  30. Michael

    ok sure hiv test tell you how much of the virus is in the blood stream NOT IN YOUR BODY 70% of your immune system is in your bowels. NO TEST CAN MEASURE HOW MUCH IS ACTUALLY in your body just how much has crossed the blood barrier into the blood stream. Most doctors look at the total blood count percentage rates of th/ts or cd4/cd8 vs t-cell counts more than the actual number of the “viral load.”

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