AIDS experts: Unprotected sex OK for some

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    Jan 31, 2008 9:44 PM GMT
    I just saw this on MSNBC, and I'm sure it's going to cause a MAJOR amount of discussion. It seems that some Swiss researchers are now saying it's okay for HIV-pos individuals to have sex with HIV-neg individuals when certain criterion is met.

    I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not willing to take that chance just yet with anyone!!!
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    Feb 01, 2008 4:17 AM GMT
    Thanks for sharing. I had not seen this. At least it will get people talking and discussing things again.
    I have always wondered about people with undetectable virus loads...if they could still transmit HIV.
    The only problem is what if that persons viral load shot up between their scheduled blood work and they had been having unprotected sex.

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    Feb 01, 2008 4:37 AM GMT
    My partner who died 11 years ago was on meds and considered "undetectable"... that is, until he was in a very bad auto accident. He had damage to his kidneys, a broken ankle that required screws to fix, cracked ribs and a few other internal injuries. He also lost a good deal of blood before the EMTs got to him. He was in the hospital for three weeks... less than a week after he came home, he got his first OI... Thrush. He'd no sooner gotten over that before shingles showed up... and then CMV... and on and on. Less than a year passed before he got pneumonia (PCP), went into a coma and died. His doctors said his viral load had suddenly shot up, his T-cells crashed, the meds had stopped working and the only thing they could think was that his body couldn't handle the HIV and healing from all those injuries from the accident at one time. They never followed up with me on that theory, so I don't know if that really was the case... but it tells me that even "undetectable" people are subject to sudden increases in viral load and therefore, greater ability to transmit the virus.

    Fortunately, we always used protection so that wasn't a big concern. But I wonder how likely it is for a sudden increase in viral load to happen and what levels are needed to effectively transmit the virus.
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    Feb 01, 2008 4:45 AM GMT
    I am sorry to hear about your partner.

    I wonder that also. I wonder if it even spikes any during the time in between quarterly blood work.
    Maybe during stress or if the person parties.

    I think its a little dangerous for them to say it is safe....might give people a false sense of safety.
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    Feb 01, 2008 4:47 AM GMT
    here is a little more on it.
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    Feb 01, 2008 4:54 AM GMT
    The problem lies in people that will ultimately take this as a free pass to go out and do whatever they want. "Oh I'm taking meds now, so I can go out and screw whomever and they won't catch it!". Slippery slippery slope.... Your viral load could be low in your blood, but that doesn't mean it's low in your semen, as some drugs have trouble penetrating the genital tissue. So blood tests for viral loads end up giving you an incomplete picture.
    The picture below shows the relationship b/w viral load and the effect the disease is having on the body.


    Viral loads can increase for any number of reasons, but NativeDude, unfortunately I'm sure your partner's accident took too much of a toll on his system to deal with both issues. He needed his immune system to heal from the accident, and without a functioning one, the disease spiraled out of control. Along the same lines can happen w/ cancer- too much stress on an already weakened body and the result is inevitable. Bottom line, just stay safe....
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    Feb 01, 2008 5:23 AM GMT
    Thanks guys... good information.

    It is a slippery slope because the scenario yalemarine mentioned is exactly what some people will think. Its also a little deceptive when you consider the term "undetectable" and what that would mean to the average lay person. To them, that term would suggest little or no copies of the virus in the blood stream... but it doesn't really mean that... and the average person wouldn't consider the difference in seminal viral loads, either, or necessarily know that some meds have trouble penetrating genital tissue.

    I agree that the best course of action is to just stay safe. Both my partner and I are negative and we always use protection. We just don't see a reason to take the risk.

    Yalemarine... I suspected it was too much for his body to handle and it made perfect sense when his doctors mentioned that, though at the time, they told me it was speculation... its good to finally get confirmation.

    GuysGuyAtl... thanks.
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    Feb 01, 2008 6:02 AM GMT
    Thanks for sharing your story NativeDude. It's always good when things like this are personalized so that others can't just write it off as a "what if".
    It also helps me greatly in my understanding of this complex issue of potentially dating someone who is HIV-positive, and what that can actually mean in this day of effective cocktails.
  • in773guy

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    Feb 01, 2008 1:48 PM GMT
    Holy crap....ok, true or not.....who really wants to try this out?
    I have dated three guy's that were Pos and my being Neg and still Neg dictated what we did.....and I am happy to can have great relationships with a Pos guys and still enjoy the sex....safely.
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    Feb 01, 2008 2:21 PM GMT
    I have to say that I'm SHOCKED at how misleading the Swiss study is. There is no conclusion evidence in what they have published, opposed or whatever.

    It irresponsible to even suggest such a thing because there will be those who will take this information and run with it and start engaging in "HIGH RISK" activity.

    Here's the kicker, we should all be mindful of the fact HIV and Aids is not the only STD that we should protect ourselves from and it's not the only one that is incurable.

    I agree with Bigguysf, it's is not worth the risk.
    Two of my former partners are HIV positive not has past on and the latter is undetectable and healthy, well he was when we last met.


    Sorry for your loss truly I am.
    I have to agree with logic of Yalemarine.
    It does appear since your former partner was already immuno-surpressed before the accident. It stand to reason that when his body heal from his injuries from the accident that his immune system was just not strong enough to fight off the series of OI's that he became inflected with.

    It could not have been easy for you and my heart goes out to you.icon_biggrin.gif

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    Feb 01, 2008 2:44 PM GMT
    This study has caused a lot of controversy and criticism from North American specialists. I have had an undetectable viral load for at least 10 years now but I would never contemplate having oral or anal sex with my partner without using a condom. I have my viral load tested every 3 months. How do I know if I am still undetectable if it has been 2 months since the last test? I don't. There is a very simple rule of thumb if you are HIV+, use condoms all the time for anal, and think seriously for oral, that way you can sleep easier at night.

    Even if you are HIV- and are sexually very active (e.g. bathhouses, dark rooms, etc.) you should think seriously about how much risk you want to take on. The more sexual partners you have the greater the probability is of becoming infected.icon_sad.gif
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    Feb 01, 2008 3:12 PM GMT
    Another issue this could affect is guys who are positive and don't tell their sex partners have now been charged. Could they then argue that they thought they were safe because they were undectable?

    I know for many positive guys their biggest fear is infecting someone else and I would hate for this information to cause someone to do that.

    Hopefully their doctors will be answering these questions for them.
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    Feb 01, 2008 3:41 PM GMT

    Excellent Point!

    This issue could open up a very compelling legal argument.

    The law is very clear on the matter, at least it was when it was passed.

    Back then the word "undetectable" was not even a part of the HIV/Aids vocabulary.

    I would think, that in order for their argument to any merit at all, that they would have to produced medical records documenting what their viral are loads and that they are undetectable.