Hopefully, the day is not far when HIV and AIDS won't raise eyebrows!
The study, published in the Lancet medical journal on Thursday, assessed the risk of HIV transmission between serodifferent gay male couples - where one partner is HIV-positive and one is HIV-negative - who do not use condoms.
Over the course of the eight-year study, 15 men did become infected with HIV during the study - but DNA testing proved this was through sex with someone who wasn't their partner who wasn't receiving treatment. "Our findings provide conclusive evidence for gay men that the risk of HIV transmission with suppressive ART [antiretroviral therapy] is zero". The risk of infection for homosexuals is equal to zero, as long as the HIV-infected sex partners, engaging consistently the appropriate medication and the viral load in the body was in outcome very low.
In 2017, there were nearly 40 million people worldwide living with HIV, of whom 21.7 million were on antiretroviral treatment. Couples were allowed to take part if they were over 18, had condomless anal sex in the last month, if the HIV-positive partner meant to stay on ART, and the couple expected to have sex with each other again in the coming months.
According to the DOH's Deputy Director General for Health Programmes, Yogan Pillay, these successful discussions have resulted in an agreement that the department will work with PEPFAR to develop a detailed proposal that will assist the department to increase the number of people with HIV on treatment and to ensure that they remain on treatment.
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.
And the researchers say that around 472 cases of HIV are likely to have been prevented.
The study proves, the researchers said, that using antiretroviral therapy to suppress the AIDS virus to undetectable levels also means it can not be passed on via sex, the researchers said. "Hearing this can be enormously empowering and reassuring to people living with HIV", said Deborah Gold, the trust's chief executive. New diagnoses have been declining since their peak in 2005, with figures from 2017 showing a 17% drop on 2016 and a 28% fall compared with 2015.
Late diagnosis remains a major challenge, still accounting for about 43% of new HIV diagnoses. This disproportionately affects certain groups, including black African heterosexual men and people aged 65 and older.
This is the third time researchers are making a breakthrough on HIV cure.
Avert.org is helping to prevent the spread of HIV and improve sexual health by giving people trusted, up-to date information.
The South African government has welcomed the decision by the U.S. government to increase funding for the country's HIV programme through the President's Emergency Fund for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) programme.