A European study of nearly 1,000 gay male couples who had sex without condoms – where one partner had HIV and was taking antiretroviral drugs to suppress it – has found the treatment can prevent sexual transmission of the virus.
After eight years of follow-up of the so-called serodifferent couples, the study found no cases at all of HIV transmission within couples.
The study proves, the researchers said, that using antiretroviral therapy to suppress the AIDS virus to undetectable levels also means it cannot be passed on via sex, the researchers said.
In this study alone, for example, the researchers estimate that the suppressive antiretrovial treatment prevented around 472 HIV transmissions during the eight years.
Since the start of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, more than 77 million people have become infected with HIV. Almost half of them – 35.4 million – have died of AIDS.