In a massive breakthrough in the medical world that would bring hopes for millions around the globe, it was found out that antiretroviral drugs completely suppressed HIV infection and the patients had no chance of transmitting the infection to their partners. The study suggests that if the transmission of HIV could be stopped using the drugs, the further spread of the virus could be stopped.
The study conducted over eight years examined around 1000 male couples across Europe, where one of the partners was HIV infected and was receiving antiretroviral drugs. The findings were overwhelming as none of the HIV-infected participants transmitted the virus to their partners during unprotected sex.
15 men did get the infection but it was because they had intercourse with some others who were not undergoing the treatment rather than just their partners.
What does it mean?
The study gives a ray of hope to the gay community, reinforcing that HIV transmission could be stopped if antiretroviral therapy is used. Studies conducted in the past have already proved that HIV transmission could be stopped on using treatment drugs. It will also help in removing the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS and fighting off homophobia. Also, it provides a huge push to the international U=U campaign that aims to spread the message that undetectable HIV is not transmissible.
The big challenge is that many HIV infected people are not even aware that they are infected by the virus. Late diagnosis is a problem and also the diagnosis of new HIV cases is declining. The overall government funding to specialist health services is falling. This calls for more concerted efforts towards completing eradicating this disease from the world.
The Way Forward
The need is to spread this message wide and across and to ensure that there is the accessibility of the treatment. Hopefully, the day is not far when HIV and AIDS won’t raise eyebrows!
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