A study published on Thursday revealed that HIV-positive men whose infection was fully stifled by antiretroviral treatment had absolutely no likelihood of transmitting the disease to their partner, a strong indicator that the HIV/AIDS epidemic could be close to an end, The Guardian reports.
The medicine’s success implies that if every HIV-positive individual receives full treatment, it would completely stop the spread of infections.
The study published in the [Lancet medical journal](https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19%2930418-0/fulltext) examined roughly 1,000 male couples in Europe, in which one partner with the infection was receiving antiretroviral drugs to stifle the virus and the other was HIV-negative. There were no instances of the infection’s transmission across all the couples who had unprotected sex.
Though 15 individuals in the HIV-negative group did test positive with HIV over the course of the eight-year study, DNA tests showed that the infection resulted from sex with a person other than their partner.
“It’s brilliant – fantastic. This very much puts this issue to bed,” said the paper’s co-leader and University College London professor Alison Rodger. In the past, studies have exhibited similar results among heterosexual couples in which only one partner is HIV-positive.
“Our findings provide conclusive evidence for gay men that the risk of HIV transmission with suppressive ART [antiretroviral therapy] is zero,” she continued. “Our findings support the message of the international U=U campaign that an undetectable viral load makes HIV untransmittable.
“This powerful message can help end the HIV pandemic by preventing HIV transmission, and tackling the stigma and discrimination that many people with HIV face.
“Increased efforts must now focus on wider dissemination of this powerful message and ensuring that all HIV-positive people have access to testing, effective treatment, adherence support and linkage to care to help maintain an undetectable viral load.”