Showing posts with label HIV Discordant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HIV Discordant. Show all posts

February 21, 2017

Mr.Gay NZ Defends his View of Unprotected Sex with PrEp Partners

Charlie Tredway, 33, who was crowned Mr Gay New Zealand at Big Gay Out in Auckland on February 12, has received a backlash after being linked with websites about "barebacking".
Charlie Tredway, 33, who was crowned Mr Gay New Zealand at Big Gay Out in Auckland on February 12, has received a backlash after being linked with websites about "barebacking".
The new Mr Gay New Zealand, who is HIV positive, is defending having unprotected sex, saying he always informs sexual partners of his health status.
Charlie Tredway, 33, who was crowned Mr Gay New Zealand at Big Gay Out in Auckland on February 12, has received a backlash after being linked with websites about "barebacking" (a term used to describe anal sex without a condom).
Tredway, who works as a community outreach staffer for the New Zealand Aids Foundation, said he used condoms the majority of the time and always made sure that sex was informed, consensual and that he was looking after himself and his sexual partners.
He said he only had unprotected sex with HIV positive men or HIV negative men who he knew were on Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which was a pill that reduced the risk of them getting HIV. 
He was also on anti-retroviral treatment which successfully lowers the level of HIV in the body to an undetectable viral load where the risk of passing HIV on was virtually non-existent.
An undetectable viral load is when there are less than 20 particles, called "copies", of HIV found in a person's blood.
"That combined with regular sexual health screening and monitoring my viral load is what safe sex looks like in 2017," Tredway told the Herald.
“We have lots of options to protect ourselves and others." Tredway, who contracted HIV from a partner he was entering a monogamous relationship with, said he was not endorsing sex without condoms, rather people's responsibility to look after themselves and use the tools available to them.
"We live in a time where there are scientifically proven and highly effective options and we need to be having these conversations without the scapegoating and misconceptions."
He said the only reason he entered Mr Gay NZ was to challenge the stigma that people living with HIV face regularly.
"That untrue notion that we are somehow less than the rest of the community. That we are unsafe to be around, or unclean and that we can't live our lives with transparency and dignity."
The online backlash was "difficult to take", but also validated his reasons for entering Mr Gay NZ, he said.
New Zealand Aids Foundation executive director Jason Myers said HIV prevention science had moved rapidly in the past two years and had shown that people with HIV and on treatment could reach an undetectable viral load which rendered them virtually non-infectious.
"And so, while in the good old days condoms are the only way to prevent the onwards transmission of HIV we are now in a space in 2017 where there are a number of tools that are equally as useful."
In addition to condoms, undetectable viral loads and Pre-exposure prophylaxis were also viable options to prevent HIV transmission.
The NZAF says it is legal to have sex without condoms if a person has disclosed their HIV status.
In an open letter, Mr Gay NZ producer Matt Fistonich said the organisation would continue to support Tredway as the 2017 Mr Gay New Zealand winner and his advocacy role for the community and HIV stigma and awareness.
"What Mr Tredway does in the privacy of is own home, is not an issue, and ironically any discussion around Mr Tredway's private life highlights and reinforces how as a community we need to continue to fight HIV-related stigma, and raise awareness of the damaging and hurtful attitudes of a vocal minority that need to change."

September 14, 2015

Man on Grindr - 'Oh you have HIV... I'm not ready for that kind of complication in my life'.

Tom Knight, a 28-year-old events manager and producer from London, has been HIV positive since 2013.
NullPicture: Facebook
He was chatting to a man on Grindr, the dating app, last week and revealed he was HIV positive.
Here's how their conversation went down:
His response raises an important point. 
In no way are flared jeans acceptable in this day and age.
HIV positive
(Photos: Getty)
No seriously, while the anonymous man was well within his rights to state his concerns, his response is symptomatic of the routine rejection HIV positive people face on the basis of their condition.
Knight told Buzzfeed:
It’s a kick in the teeth. Every time it’s a kick in the teeth. It’s not easy telling people I’m positive. You worry about what they’re thinking about you.
Nowadays, treatment is also far more effective than it used to be - HIV is more likely to get passed on if the HIV positive partner has what’s called ‘a high viral load’, which treatment can lower, reducing the risk of passing on HIV.
As Knight added:
People like him don’t have any knowledge about HIV and don’t know what 'undetectable' means [an undetectable viral load occurs when medication suppresses the virus to such low levels it doesn’t show up on lab tests], and don’t realise that it means you can’t pass the virus on.
HIV is spread through contact with blood (including menstrual blood and any blood in saliva, urine, and feces), semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk, and fluids around the brain, spinal cord, joints and a developing fetus.
HIV is not spread through contact with sweat, tears, saliva, feces or urine.
You cannot get HIV by touching or hugging someone who is HIV positive or by kissing someone living with HIV.
Every sexual act with someone who is HIV positive, oral, anal or vaginal, has an element of risk of transmission of HIV, but condoms remain the most effective barrier, as well as dental dams and latex gloves.
In addition, if a condom splits or you forget to use one – a HIV negative partner can take PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis), which helps prevent transmission of HIV. It needs to be taken within 3 days, but better within 24 hours.
For more information visit the NHS website.
(H/T Buzzfeed)

July 21, 2015

New Study: Suppressive HIV Therapy Also Protects Discordant Straights by 96%


We now know that when one gay partner is HIV+ and the partner is HIV-(discordant couple), the negative partner (positive partner with suppressive therapy and with an undetectable viral load) is protected by at least 97%. The question emerged when we are talking about a straight couple; Does this answers the question about Straights? We now have an answer with very similar results as to the gay couple.

Antiretroviral treatment that consistently suppresses HIV is highly effective at preventing sexual transmission of the virus in heterosexual couples where one person is HIV-infected and the other is not, investigators report today at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment & Prevention (IAS 2015) in Vancouver, Canada. The finding comes from the decade-long HPTN 052 clinical trial funded primarily by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and conducted by the NIH-funded HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN).
“For heterosexuals who can achieve and maintain viral suppression, the risk to their partners is exceedingly low.”
—Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
NIAID Director 
In 2011, the HPTN 052 study investigators reported a breakthrough: Starting HIV treatment early, when the immune system is relatively healthy, reduced the risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an uninfected partner by 96 percent over 18 months. Based on additional data gathered since 2011, today’s finding unequivocally demonstrates the enduring power of HIV-controlling antiretroviral therapy to greatly reduce sexual transmission of the virus.
“The study now makes crystal clear that when an HIV-infected person takes antiretroviral therapy that keeps the virus suppressed, the treatment is highly effective at preventing sexual transmission of HIV to an uninfected heterosexual partner,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “For heterosexuals who can achieve and maintain viral suppression, the risk to their partners is exceedingly low.”
The HPTN 052 trial was designed to evaluate whether antiretroviral therapy reduces sexual transmission of HIV. Beginning in April 2005, the study enrolled 1,763 heterosexual couples ages 18 or older in Botswana, Brazil, India, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand, the United States and Zimbabwe. Each couple included one partner with HIV infection and one without. Infected participants were assigned at random either to start antiretroviral therapy right away, while their immune system was relatively healthy, or to delay starting treatment until their immune system weakened or they developed an AIDS-defining illness, consistent with World Health Organization guidelines at the time. All participants received condoms and counseling on how to protect their partners from sexual transmission of HIV.
Once the investigators reported their landmark data in 2011, all infected study participants were offered the opportunity to begin antiretroviral therapy right away, and the trial continued for another four years, concluding this spring. At the end of the study, 1,171 couples remained in the trial.
Investigators report today that starting antiretroviral therapy early reduced HIV transmission by 93 percent over the course of the study. Only eight cases of HIV transmission occurred in uninfected partners of HIV-infected participants who received antiretroviral therapy. Four of these infections were diagnosed shortly after the start of treatment. In these cases, the virus most likely was transmitted just before antiretroviral therapy began or right after it commenced, before treatment had fully suppressed HIV replication. The other four infections occurred in study participants for whom treatment no longer was working and the virus was replicating. Treatment failure may have occurred because HIV-infected participants did not take their antiretroviral drugs as prescribed or had an HIV strain that was resistant to one or more of the drugs in their treatment regimen.
The lack of sexual transmission of HIV by virally suppressed individuals in this large study provides robust evidence that antiretroviral therapy started at any time in the course of infection can prevent heterosexual HIV transmission if viral suppression is achieved and maintained, the investigators note.
“Throughout our decade-long study with more than 1,600 heterosexual couples, we did not observe HIV transmission when the HIV-infected partner’s virus was stably suppressed by antiretroviral therapy,” said Myron Cohen, M.D., the study’s principal investigator. Dr. Cohen is Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of the university’s Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases. “These findings illustrate that treatment is an incredibly powerful tool for HIV prevention.”
HPTN 052 investigators also are reporting findings today about relationships between viral load, viral suppression, treatment failure and drug resistance. The researchers found that having a relatively high level of HIV in the blood at the start of therapy was associated with a longer time to viral suppression, which, in turn, was associated with both the occurrence of treatment failure and a shorter time to treatment failure. Thus, having a relatively high viral load at the start of treatment could increase the risk for HIV transmission, the scientists suggest.
In addition, the investigators found that among the HPTN 052 participants who started antiretroviral therapy early but failed treatment before May 2011, those who had a higher viral load when they joined the study were likely to develop resistance to their antiretroviral drugs. Additional analysis is needed to clarify this association, according to the investigators.
The HPTN conducted the trial with funding from NIAID, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health, all part of NIH, through grant number 5-UM1-AI068619. Additional support was provided by the NIH-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group.

For more information about the HPTN 052 trial, please see Questions and Answers: The HPTN 052 Study: Preventing Sexual Transmission of HIV with Anti-HIV Drugs. Information is also available in under study identifier NCT00074581.
NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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