The National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) has endorsed a consensus statement declaring that people with HIV who have maintained an undetectable viral load for six months have a negligible risk of transmitting the virus sexually.
For context, other negligible transmission risks include spitting, biting and throwing body fluids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
NASTAD announced its endorsement at the 20th annual United States Conference on AIDS (USCA), which took place September 15 to 18 in Hollywood, Florida.
“The science is clear that people living with HIV with a sustained undetectable viral load do not transmit the virus to others,” said NASTAD executive director Murray Penner in a press release. “What’s also clear is that we have the tools to end HIV in our lifetime and we must use all of them to help everyone reduce transmission risks. We start by addressing the stigma fueling the epidemic and using the best evidence we have that’s based on science, not stigma.”
“The majority of people with HIV believe they will be burdened with the fear of infecting others for the rest of their lives,” added Bruce Richman, cofounder of the Prevention Access Campaign, which spearheaded the consensus statement. “This commitment from NASTAD is a monumental step toward sharing a message that will improve the social, sexual and reproductive lives of millions of people with HIV in the U.S. and globally.”
Read the full consensus statement, including a list of people and organizations endorsing it, here.
In related news, AIDS.gov posted an interview with the National Institutes of Health’s Carl Dieffenbach, PhD, the director of the NIH’s Division of AIDS, in which he explains the many benefits of HIV treatment and the importance of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.
“Once you begin therapy and you stay on therapy, with full virologic suppression you are not capable of transmitting HIV to a sexual partner.” Dieffenbach said in the interview, posted below. “With successful ART that individual is not infectious.”
For a POZ interview with Richman, read “Does Undetectable Mean Uninfectious? The Challenge of Explaining HIV Study Results.” And check out his POZ blog here.