Nigel Campbell's picture

PARTNER Study Reveals 'No One' w/ Undetectable Viral Load Transmits HIV

We're very curious as to how this study will be received and how it will impact HIV-stigma. 

AIDS Map reports that results from the first two years of the PARTNER study have shown that no HIV-positive individual (homosexual or heterosexual) with an undetectable viral load has transmitted HIV:

The second large study to look at whether people with HIV become non-infectious if they are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) has found no cases where someone with a viral load under 200 copies/ml transmitted HIV, either by anal or vaginal sex.

Statistical analysis shows that the maximum likely chance of transmission via anal sex from someone on successful HIV treatment was 1% a year for any anal sex and 4% for anal sex with ejaculation where the HIV-negative partner was receptive; but the true likelihood is probably much nearer to zero than this.

When asked what the study tells us about the chance of someone with an undetectable viral load  transmitting HIV, presenter Alison Rodger said: "Our best estimate is it's zero."

The final results of the study are due in 2017. We encourage you to read the full AIDS Map report here as we're sure it will answer many questions regarding the study.

In the meantime, we'd love to hear how the results of this study have impacted your perception of HIV, HIV treatment, and the stigma of sex with HIV-positive partners.

Let us know, Instincters!

Comments

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I have ehard non-stop lies for 40 years over this issue, so the bottom line is TRUST NO ONE, until you get tested with them and see those results.So many people saying they are non-detectable when they never got tested,much less on ARC....pathological liars abound, and there are more sociopath's and psychopath's than we even dare to imagine...

I have been with my partner for 5 years. He is negative and I am positive. I have been on medication and  the entire time we have been together and we don't practice safe sex. My partner is usually the bottom, but I don't ejaculate inside him. I take my meds everyday and he gets tested regularly. My dr agrees the odds of me transferring the virus are next to none, but it requires me to be diligent about taking my medication and remaining undetectable. I feel bad about those who were infected by someone who claimed to be be undetectable, but clearly the people they were with were lying. It's all about honesty and communication and knowing the facts.

I speak from experience when I say I know the danger of trusting the wrong person because they claim to be undetectable. I was infected at the beginning of 2011 by an older sexual partner that claimed to be undetectable (he informed me of his status after we had sex). I blame myself for not taking the necessary precautions to protect myself but this in no way makes what he did ok. After being diagnosed with HIV at age 22 I spoke to my doctor about the incident that infected me. It was my doctors professional opinion that he lied to me about being undetectable based on his behavior, his failure to admit his status prior to our encounter, and the fact I was infected with a pan sensitive strain (treatable by all current medications available with no resistance). I am currently in good health and am consistent with my medication (stribild) I have been in a loving relationship with my partner for 1.5 years and he is fully aware of my HIV+ status and has been since before we started dating and way before our first sexual experience together. To this day I am undetectable and my partner is hiv- we are in a versatile relationship with minimal condom use (I do not ejaculate inside him) but we plan to keep him HIV- so he is beginning a truvada regimen at the end of this month. My point in saying all this is, just because an individual says they are undetectable does not mean they truly are. As HIV patients we are constantly doing blood draws for lab work, or reviewing our health conditions, and monitoring the status of our viral loads so there is a paper trail it's ok to ASK for proof of an undetectable viral load. I personally have at least 3 documents from my doctor spanning back at least 6 months stating my viral load is undetectable. Be smart don't be a victim ask for proof it's your right to know.

So everyone that reads this is going to think its permission to go bareback with the phrase "I'm undetectable."  total b.s.

I'm still waiting for someone to explain the massive upswing in HIV infection rates if all these undetectable people cannot transmit the virus...

There are a lot of people who are still picking sexual partners under the idea that "you can tell by looking" if a person is sick or not.  People let all sorts of weird ideas get into their heads, like only gays have it, or only guys have it, or you can't get it if you're young/old. Now combine that across all age and race and orientation groups with people who don't or won't get tested and you have a continuing spread of HIV. 

The problem is that even though there are more of us that are getting treated and are becoming undetectable there are still people out there that are positive but don't know because they are too scared to get tested or have a false sense of security believing that it only Happens to "other people" and there are still those people that know they are positive but refuse treatment either due to cost, medication stigmas, fear, or plain old denial (yes there are still people that deny the existence of HIV and AIDS). The recent increase in HIV+ diagnosis isn't Being caused by the people getting treated it's the individuals that refuse to get treatment, refuse to disclose their status, or don't know their status due to wilful ignorance or any other cause.

From men and women who don't know their HIV status, therefore are not on ART.

I have been with my poz partner for nine years.  He the bottom, me the top.  He's very good about taking his meds regularly and maintaining his health.  After the first month or so, we stopped using condoms.  I remain negative.  

I think that there are  FAR too many people claiming to be "undetectable" as horrifying way to rationalize whether you have properly notified a partner.   This news is likely to increase that number, likely resulting in more transmissions.

this is absolutely not true! I was infected by someone undetectable that thought because they were they could lie to me about having it. He puts his medication into vitamune bottles to hide it. I'm not the only person that he is infected. I found out there were people before me and there were people after me as recent as last year. The health department will do nothing. The police department will do nothing. The health department ask "what do you want us to do? We see this everyday." this article is an absolute fabrication because drug companies want everybody to take an HIV pill. Can you blame them think about how much money they would be making. President Obama deliberately pushed for non prosecution of non disclosure cases like mine. Wow wonder what drug company paid him for that? Do the research before you make a negative comment and consider that my life will never be the same and if you buy into this BS yours won't be either

Elton, if the guy was not taking his meds than he was not undetectable, and just because he told you he was undetectable doesn't mean he was! Your story fails to invalidate the results of this study, what it does do is confirm your stupidly and petulance!

I'm sorry but where did you read that he wasnt taking his meds? i said he puts them into vitamine bottles. And so we are clear about it i had just ended a 13year relationship AND he and i were dating so i hope you're not trying to imply that i was ignorant, just "effe" around with any one or any thing like that. I met him at work AND we had the discussion about stds before we ever messed around. if your going to confirm my "stupidly" then make sure you have your facts straight and do us all a favour and come across as educated if you plan to shoot another person down. One last thing---> he consented to a home test that i happened to have. BECASUE HE KNEW HE WAS UNDETECTABLE and that it wouldn't show. UNDETECTABLE DOES NOT MEAN NOT INFECTIUOS. any thing else you'd care to ask about? i have no issue answering questions but i will not feed into STUPIDITY. Thanks!

Yes, undetectable does mean non infectious, that's what the results of the study show so far.

Perhaps someone you met assumed they were undetectable without actually getting tested. Or simply lied. Have you have seen the other person's undetectable test results and authenticated them with their doctor ? How long after said test did you have sex ? Do you know for sure the other person did not go off their meds for an extended period of time ?

I am totally agreed with Elton, i had the same problem, i was infected by someone who is undetectable and because he is undetectable he thinks he can not infect anybody, but that is totally wrong. You have here 2 cases and also many cases more. Are we stupids ? come on.. be serious on your arguments...

You made a valid point, his very own stupidity. He should have took better precautions to protect himself.

i think listening to people that say it isn't possible is stupidity. there has been debate on this exact topic in europe for years. forgive me but it sounds to me like any one denying the possibility that i'm right are also the same people that lie about having it. i NEVER could have done that to another person. the only thing i am guilty of is trusting another person and what kind of world do we live in where you can't trust another person with your life? it's not difficult. i have always been upfront about it and believe me it DOES NOT get me sex and it certainly DOES NOT get me dates and thats ok but i want people to know this does happen. so are you telling me that if i wanted to mess around with you, (assuming you're negative) or a beloved family member that you'd be ok if i didn't tell them and was undetectable and barebacked with them. you are comfortable allowing that to happen?

Elton, sorry to hear what happen to you. However, you blame the person infecting you and you're pointing a blame at Obama. One, you need to take responsibility for having unprotected sex and two, don't blame Obama for your lack of self judgement. 

 I recently dated an HIV positive man who was undetectable. After a while, I wanted to stop using condoms with him. I did some research and found information similar to this, the risk was low.  However I didn't fool myself into thinking that it was a zero chance. I took prophylaxis medication(usually the same meds your partner is taking, ask a doctor) to prevent infection if that 1% chance of transmission did happen. While it was worth it to become more intimate with him, the meds were hard on me. I had to be monitored to be sure it wasn't causing a build up of acidity in my system. These meds can still cause death, in rare cases. They are by no means a magic pill.  Long after the relationship I am still negative.  It can take up to 6 months to detect HIV in your system in a blood test, and in rare cases up to a year.

 The threat is still very real and dangerous, so be responsible. Use condoms with people you don't know. If you think you have been exposed, you may visit the doctor within 36 hours to take a 30 day prophylaxis which can prevent infection. You will need to be monitored while on these medications.  Vaccines are also currently being tested, and may be available soon, so hold out a little longer. It is more likely that the HIV epidemic will end through prevention rather than a cure, so be safe guys. 

Great information, very agree with everything you said.

Perhaps now some of the intentionally ignorant HIV negative men out there who reject their positive counterparts based on irrational fear will finally see how misguided they have been.  And yes, I speak from experience.  

Hear, hear! 

And thank you!

hot

Jeff... The fact is more and more and more ( at least in recent years) gay men have reached condom fatigue and it seems more and more they engage in condomless "raw" sex. Given the prevalence of such practices, it is very unlikely that sex between poz and negative partners if the poz partner is fully treated with anti-virals to the point of testing undetectable  will actually increase risk. The increase in HIV rate among young gay males in particular I would suspect is among untested young men, who are indeed infected and detectable and who have not sought treatment. All the more reason to promote universal testing, especially among younger gay men so they know their status, and then encouragement for early treatment. Wishing and hoping for different behavior will simply not curb the predictable behavior. 

I am so happy to hear this. I know this is no where near a cure...but I hope encourages more people to get tested, to know their status, and to get proper treatment for something that does not have to mean death upon notification. 

I have suspected this for quite sometime. I have a friend who has been Undetectable for over 4 years. His partner is NOT positive. He admitted to me, that they had not used condoms from time to time when one was not available. As much as I condemned and disapproved of their habits, I asked him to tell me honestly how many times he thought they were not safe...he admitted to over 100 or more times, the Hiv+ friend is the top. He said he ejaculated 90% of the time inside his partner.

To this day I know of a several other couples who have admitted to the same practices...ALL of their partners still test negative. Of course this is not to say it will remain so, but in my group of friends, we have openly discussed this subject and compared notes. So we have suspected that undetectable status of Hiv + people, obviously are unable or are flat out not transmitting the disease, or at least enough of the virus to infect someone else. I still refuse to top without a condom, just simply for the fact I will not infect another person with this, and I couldn't live with myself if I did. We have been awaiting a study or an announcement concluding the same information we have...Undetectable means Untransmitable.

Great, now even more people are gonna go raw and engage in risky behavior

Or one might hope, people might stop freaking about HIV positive people so much if they have an undetectable viral load, and be comfortable having safe sex with them One can dream.

But if they don't, and still don't want to have safe sex for the sole reason someone is HIV infected, despite treatment, then their fear will be exposed for what it is - nothing more than irrational .

Speak for yourself! I plan to be careful anyway.

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