Q&A on the PARTNER study: how to interpret the zero transmission resultsHow many people became positive from their partner?
Zero. There were no transmissions within couples when viral load was undetectable.Were there other HIV transmissions?
Yes, 11 people did become HIV positive during the study (ten gay men and one heterosexual). In nearly all these cases, the person said that they had sex with another person other than their main partner.
Approximately 33% of gay couples and 4% of straight couples were in open relationships.
Importantly, none of these transmissions were linked to their HIV positive partner.
What are the implications of the results?
The lack of HIV transmissions should challenge the wrongly held common assumption that there is always a risk just because someone is HIV positive.
The results actually go further. The lack of transmission challenges scientists to prove that transmission is actually possible when viral load is undetectable.How will people benefit from these results?
There are many benefits from these results.
* HIV positive people can become less anxious and concerned that they are a risk to their partners whenever they have sex. This can still be a worry, even when using condoms.
*HIV negative people can be less anxious about risk. Even when using condoms, this residual risk can limit full enjoyment of sex.
*Less anxiety and fear can help with closer communication and better sex. For many people, a good sex life is an important and essential part of life.
* Some people might enjoy not using condoms in a way that wasn’t possible when they still worried about HIV.
*Sero-different couples who want to have children can conceive from just having sex without the need for additional PrEP.
* Reducing fear about HIV transmission might reduce the stigma and rejection HIV positive people encounter when meeting new partners.
*Legal cases where HIV is used because of a theoretical rather than actual risk will hopefully become more rare. The results might enable some people to launch an appeal.http://i-base.info/qa-on-the-partner-study/