Pardon me for the graphic image, this article is actually one of support and good news to the HIV and AIDS community. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has claimed this week that a person infected with HIV has “effectively no risk” of passing on the virus to someone else if their viral load cannot be detected (less than 200 copies/ml of the virus in the blood).
People infected with HIV at undetectable levels have little risk in passing the virus on
According to the official statement from CDC, advances in the medical space have shown that antiretroviral therapy (ART) can help sustain meaningful health for people living with HIV and also help prevent the spread of the disease to innocent victims. This result was achieved after studying thousands of couples with thousands of sex acts without any prior treatments or drugs given to the uninfected partner.
The study involved monitoring of thousands of couples and observing if the thousands of sex acts they engaged in caused any transfer or transmission of the virus from a virally suppressed HIV-positive patient to an HIV negative one. This brings comfort to the sufferers as this could mean that people who take ART as prescribed have a low risk in sexually transmitting the virus via sexual activities. The same cannot be sure for direct transfusion of blood as the statement we saw on CDC made no mention about this transmission method.
There are some caveats I can think of when I read the statement, and was wondering if the statement was too conclusive:
- What if people develop resistance to the therapy treatments, how often are their viral load monitored?
- Is 200 copies/ml of blood the threshold? What is the effect of it being slightly above or slight below?
- Publishing the statement might have unintended effects of encouraging certain behaviors, and what is being done to encourage caution?
The direction of the campaign is good, but we should not underestimate the danger of HIV
Prevention is always better than cure, and I am pro-campaigning for less stigma. However, I was just wondering if the statement is too conclusive and might drive certain safety transgressions? Again, understand that the campaign is meant to drive treatment figures.
What are your views?