"Swiss HIV experts have produced the first-ever consensus statement to say that HIV-positive individuals on effective antiretroviral therapy and without sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are sexually non-infectious. The statement is published in this week’s Bulletin of Swiss Medicine.
"The statement’s headline statement says that “after review of the medical literature and extensive discussion,” the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV / AIDS resolves that, “An HIV-infected person on antiretroviral therapy with completely suppressed viraemia (“effective ART”) is not sexually infectious, i.e. cannot transmit HIV through sexual contact.”
"The article begins by stating that the Commission 'realises that medical and biologic data available today do not permit proof that HIV-infection during effective antiretroviral therapy is impossible, because the non-occurrence of an improbable event cannot be proven. If no transmission events were observed among 100 couples followed for two years, for instance, there might still be some such events if 10,000 couples are followed for ten years. The situation is analogous to 1986, when the statement "HIV cannot be transmitted by kissing" was publicised. This statement has not been proven, but after 20 years’ experience its accuracy appears highly plausible.'"
I would very much like to know how other people feel about this statement, because after reading this, I can't stop thinking about it.
I'm happy that viral loads can now be made undetectable to the point of improbable HIV transmission, but I'm afraid that this is only going to create more confusion and chaos in the sex lives of gay men. In the sex lives of everyone.
I believe that a person has the right to do with their body as they would like. If they want to practice unsafe sex, knowing full well that they might seroconvert, that's is their business, not mine.
I also believe that, if you are HIV negative, the only way to ensure that you will remain negative is to treat EVERYONE with whom you have sex as if they are HIV positive. Period.
I know so many gay men who have one kind of sex with negative guys and a different kind of sex - - or no sex at all - - with positive guys.
In my opinion, that arrangement will put you at a much greater risk to become HIV positive. I mean, if you're having unsafe sex with a guy simply because he told you he is negative, you have a better chance of seroconverting with him than you would if you had played safe with an HIV positive guy. The negative guy could be lying about his status. Or he may not know that he's HIV positive. Or he may have just sero-converted himself.
You see? It's so confusing as it is right now. Will this new statement by the Swiss add to the confusion?
Will the HIV positive man with a viral load of zero consider himself, for all intents and purposes, HIV negative and therefore not inform his sexual partner of his status?
Will this increase barebacking, since the HIV positive man is being told that transmission of the virus is now improbable?
Will this cause even more HIV negative men to believe that becoming HIV positive is "no big deal" because after a few anti-virals, you're virtually HIV negative again?
Will even more people believe that AIDS is now curable? I'm sure that several people would believe that if your viral load is zero and you can't transmit the virus, you are indeed cured.
So many questions....
I'm elated that HIV meds have come so far that my friends are able to have viral loads of zero - - I only wish these drugs had been available years earlier to have saved the lives of so many other friends - - but I feel that every battle won against this plague changes our interpersonal and sexual relations in a myriad of ways.
One step forward causes two steps back.
It's a complex issue and I hope that I haven't offended anyone. I also hope that you will share any thoughts or feelings you have about this new scientific announcement.