Study: HIV positive men with undetectable viral load won’t transmit virus


A major Australian based study into HIV has revealed that HIV positive men with an undetectable viral load will not transmit the virus to their partners.

The results of the study have major implications for couples where one partner is HIV positive and the other is not, and in breaking down the high level of stigma that surrounds people living with HIV.

The study, which was conducted by the Kirby Institute in New South Wales, found that HIV men who were on daily anti-retroviral treatment that made the virus undetectable were unable to transmit the virus to their sexual partners.

The researchers followed 350 couples from Australia, Thailand and Brazil over a four year period. In the study one half of each of the couples were HIV positive, while their partner did not have the virus.

Over the period of the study the participants reported almost 17,000 acts of anal intercourse without the use of condoms, none of the participants in the study became HIV positive.

Chief investigator Professor Andrew Grulich from the Kirby Institute told the ABC that it was “pretty life changing for couples where one is HIV positive and the other negative”.

During the course of the study three participants did become HIV positive, but it was determined that the new infections came from sex outside the relationship, not from the partner who as receiving treatment.

Researchers also highlighted that using condoms was also still advisable as it protects people from other sexually transmitted infections. It was noted that 20% of the participants in the study reported other STI’s during the course of the trial.

The study’s results have been presented at the International AIDS Conference in Paris.

OIP Staff

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