April/May #179 : HIV Treatment as Prevention - by Laura Whitehorn

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April / May 2012

HIV Treatment as Prevention

by Laura Whitehorn

The British HIV Association has released new draft guidelines on prescribing antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive people who don’t need meds yet for their own health (they have more than 350 CD4s, the point at which meds are normally begun in Britain) but want to take them to ensure their viral loads are suppressed to protect their sex partners. If positive people take their meds faithfully and have an undetectable viral load for at least six months, their risk of transmitting HIV to a negative partner can be reduced by 96 percent (among heterosexual couples). The guidelines tell doctors to stress that “the evidence that [HIV treatment] lowers the risk of transmission mainly relates to vaginal and not anal sex.” Current U.S. guidelines say that “the use of effective [HIV meds] regardless of CD4 count is likely to reduce transmission to the uninfected sexual partner,” but they don’t discuss prescribing meds for this purpose—yet. Stay tuned.

Search: Britain, British HIV Association, antiretroviral drugs, CD4, viral load, anal sex, heterosexual couples, transmission

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