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100%??!!! Wow. Will have to keep following this study when they begin human trials.
This will be wonderful, for gay men everywhere and also for women in many places and cultures who do not always have the ability to insist on condoms.
It would destroy the argument some PrEP opponents use against PrEP, namely that “it won’t work because people can’t remember to take a pill every day.” (A stupid argument, in my opinion.)
This kind of delivery might also be a helpful quality of life improvement for HIV+ people on HAART. No more daily pills.
I usually don’t get excited about meds still in animal trials, but I wish this one much success. When you combine this with the studies about undet guys not passing on HIV to their neg partners, it looks like we might be waking up from this long nightmare called AIDS.
But the major issue will be if gays can actually learn to love, have sex and live without the fears that have been instilled within us for the last 30 years. Our self hatred is so deep, many believe there should be a death sentence for our sex…even as they fight for equality.
Being HIV negative is not a virtue, and being HIV positive is not a curse from god.
Hopefully LGBT orgs will begin to provide mental health programs for PTSD. On that note: I issue a challenge to all gay males to stop using the shaming term “barebacking”. Condomless sex is not evil or a crime (except in the south), it is natural. Words matter, and they do hurt.
Not all tests for viral loads are identical. Several commenters here cite 50 copies as the standard for determining viral load per ml. The clinic in my community uses a 20-copy standard, so “undetectable” in this test is an even more precise measure of one’s status.
And please enlighten me…when we talk about viral load are we talking blood or semen because I’ve read studies where it is undetectable in the blood, but detectable in the semen.
@Mdterp01: Monkeys are 99.8% genetically the same as us so you can draw conclusions.
@Mdterp01: This viral load thing in semen is sort of tricky because the people doing the study, like always, are straight homophobic people, but here is the skinny very quickly.
There is an outer layer around the HIV virus, that will “shed” as the virus dies. It is this shedding that can show up in semen even though the blood is undetectable…BUT
Further studies have shown that this “shedding” only happens when one has another ACTIVE STD. But even then those “sheddings” may not necessarly be infections. Most times they are not. And when they are infectious, it is not to a level that one exposed would become HIV positive.
So, in almost all cases, one who has undet blood has undet semen.
@boowa: The level to reach undet, in the USA is determined by the type of insurance one has. The better the insurance the more sensitive the tests they will pay for, but for medical purposes, anything under 200 copies is considered undet, even though the national standard is 50.
I’ve learned not to hold my breath on HIV breakthroughs; especially those that are still in animal trials. Still – if this ever comes to market it would be a great tool for prevention, though I do wonder what the side-effects might be.
If this doesn’t have huge side effects, it could REALLY not only help out couples where their statuses differ, but as viveutvivas said, it is also a pretty amazing for women in places like South Africa where rape, and AIDS are so prevalent!
@pleasemakeitstop: “This viral load thing in semen is sort of tricky because the people doing the study, like always, are straight homophobic people,”
@GeriHew: what about what i said did you not understand. for decades all of the HIV testing has only been on straight people in the usa, when the majority infected are gay. we have been purposfully excluded, and then told “this data is not represented of male anal sex and should not be used for such’ CDC
HIV criminalization laws are used mostly against gay males, and with a lack of modern education about transmission.
Take the latest research on HIV pos undet guys, why is this not on the front page of the NYTIMES or even HUFFPostgay? What homophobia is not part of government research, just inside of churces?
It’s not a vaccine, but its close enough. Still, I’ll believe it when I see it on the market.
@pleasemakeitstop: Sorry if your feelings have been hurt by the term “barebacking,” but it’s not condom advocates who popularized it — it’s barebacking activists and porn promoters with their tireless glorification of unprotected sex, and operators of hookup sites like barebackRT or the Facebook page “condoms are for pussies.”
If “words hurt,” so does the currently fashionable insult “condom N*zi” for anyone who points out a still crucial public health measure.
As you say, condomless sex is beautiful. So is safer sex. And while condoms may not be “natural,” dependence on costly, toxic drugs to stay alive is decidedly unnatural. Until there is a 100% effective cure or vaccine for HIV, anal sex without a condom outside a monogamous relationship is, if not evil, extremely foolish.
@DonW: HIV infection is dependent upon one of the persons being infected, and not being properly medicated/undetectable. There is nothing wrong with 2 guys, or more even, who know their status’, be they neg, poz or a combination of both, not using condoms. NOTHING.
It is not barebacking it is sex, just like it is not gay marriage, it is Marriage. Simple
I don’t use terms like condom nazis and have never heard it used, but there will never be anything that is 100% effective at stopping any STD outside of abstinance, which you don’t seem to be pressing. Condoms will only be, at best, when used properly, which they never are, 97% effective. Condoms also do not prevent the majority of other STD’s including herpes and Hep C, which are just as bad, if not worse than HIV.
Choices made on up to date, accurate information is all I ask. Not things based on shaming, fear or poz-phobia. The point is that gay men need to leave fear and shame behind, and have open conversations, based on truth, with their sexual partners. Anal sex, without a condom, in this vein is neither evil nor foolish, it is a choice and does not mean that either one will contract any STD. These are lies told by straights.
Natural sex between two gay men does not equal HIV infection.
Wait, so is this the hallelujah moment the AIDS/HIV community has been waiting for for the last, 40 or so years? If so, that’s incredibly, indescribably exciting and groundbreaking!!
i dont think i could ever try barebacking, even if they had Jesus come down and tell me that drug would work. i came out late and i finally began to love my life then i started to have a few bad scares. i always used condoms but found out that a lot of guys were lying to me. about a year ago i was diagnosed with hep b. although i had the vaccine too, it didnt take. i’m on this med tenofovir now its a drug for hep b which is ALSO a PREP med for hiv i’m now undetec, but even over a year later i am still too terrified to have sex anymore. all this med news is great but i’ve never once bb and i dont think any med would get me to try it. i fucked myself up enough, even though i did all the right things.
Every major breakthrough is great news… I hope this happens sooner rather than later!
@pleasemakeitstop: Absolutely, guys should know their status, whatever decision they make about protection — but too few do, or we wouldn’t be facing the current trend, if not halted, will leave 50% of gay men HIV+ by age 50.
This new wave of infections has come along with the concerted effort by you and others to de-stigmatize, and some to glorify, barebacking (or whatever you want to call it). Though the advances in PrEP are wonderful news, it’s way too soon for this dismissive attitude toward safer sex, that is increasingly widespread among young men who don’t get tested, don’t understand the principle of treatment as prevention, and have no access to PrEP.
I call bullshit that the only ones advising condoms for anal sex are straight. The head of the CDC’s HIV division is gay. (See http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/) And if you’ve never seen the term “condom N*zi,” you need to go online more.
If “poz-phobia” refers to stigmatizing individuals, that is a bad thing. However, if it’s a recognition that the infection itself still sucks — despite the glossy Big Pharma ads with rock-climbing studs and their once-a-day pills — then I’m all for it. I have had an active, adventurous sex life for 20 years, and a healthy fear of HIV, and condoms have kept me negative. Maybe they’re at best 97% effective, but that’s an absurd reason to reject them entirely.
I find it interesting that you point out there’s no difference between “gay marriage” and “marriage,” and then use the meaningless term “natural sex” — just like NOM using the made-up term “natural marriage.” There’s nothing “natural” about half of us contracting a lifelong, incurable, but totally preventable infection, either.
@joey: It sounds like you had some bad scares, but you can still have a complete and fulfilling sexual life, whatever your status. Please don’t hide in fear from the joy of connecting with other men in a life-affirming way. Find a compassionate, sex-positive therapist.
@DonW: yeah it sucks, i’m now on a pill potentially for the rest of my life even though i am undectecable (i only have the hep B virus)i am not hiv poz but i never bb in my life, nor used drugs but still this happened. honestly i still cant think about sex the only good thing thats come of this is all i do is spend time in the gym. ha! i will also have to go for ultra sounds every 6 months and can never drink again. most of all i’m really angry with myself
@joey: Everyone should be aware that Hep B is a more virulent virus than HIV; in other words, while it can be transmitted in the same way, theoretically, as HIV, it is more effective in transmission in all ways than HIV. Nonetheless, the Hep B vaccine is highly effective; there are tests both for quantitative analyses of antibodies (after vaccination)as well as surface antigen tests to determine whether there is any detectable Hep B virus in the blood (just to make sure).
If one is medicating properly to deal with the infection, is undetectable, AND using safe-sex precautions, failing to pursue sex is an emotional/psychological that might benefit from non-pharmaceutical therapy.
its been about 1.5 yrs since i had sex but i’m just so “gun shy” with the idea of catching another STI. if i have sex then i have to get the usual STI tests and right now that would just be so nerve wracking. youre correct i am on a med and my liver functions are normal, i go back in 6 months for a “quantiative DNA hep b test”??. i might be on this tenofovir the rest of my life – that makes you think about long term use of it too.
its been over 1 yrs since i had sex but i’m just so “gun shy” with the idea of catching another STI. if i have sex then i have to get the usual STI tests and right now that would just be so nerve wracking. youre correct i am on a med and my liver functions are normal, i go back in 6 months for a “quantiative DNA hep b test”??. i might be on this tenofovir the rest of my life – that makes you think about long term use of it too.
I would much rather see a drug that cures cancer effectively without harm during treatment as there is now and is not fully effective!
Another proposed treatment and still no cure. Any profit from a cure would not be as profitable as treatment to maintain it as a chronic condition. I still think the US Government should eliminate all funding for research given to the for profit drug industry and divert all those funds to a new division of the CDC whose sole purpose would be to find cures for diseases. They can allow the pharmaceutical industry to manufacture the cures the CDC finds without the outrageous markup or if none wish to the CDC should also be given the power to manufacture it themselves. Cures should come before profit. I feel very strongly about this.
@Stache1: That’s not true. There is about .5% genetic variation just within humans. Even a chimp would only be about a 96% match, and a monkey less than an ape. That is why human trials are done. Because you cannot make such assumptions.
@pleasemakeitstop: I also challenge ALL gay men to STOP using the word “CLEAN” to describe their self-assessed STD status. The fact that you tested negative for HIV yesterday, the minute you have sex again (even safer sex with a condom), you CANNOT with 100% certainty make that declaration. All that said, using the word “CLEAN” is not only cruel, it’s deceptive.
@GayTampaCowboy: Even a negative test yesterday doesn’t guarantee that you’re TRULY negative…unless you haven’t had sex in the last three months or so.
@DonW: The new wave of infections has come about because for a certain segment of guys it takes the threat of death to put on a condom Don.
As to the following comment:
“if it’s a recognition that the infection itself still sucks — despite the glossy Big Pharma ads with rock-climbing studs and their once-a-day pills”
… are you poz to pass judgment on how we feel from a physical perspective? If not, how arrogant of you. I feel in perfect health and Big Pharma is not overselling HAART one iota.
In 20 years of volunteering for HIV/AIDS service organizations, I have yet to meet a poz person who doesn’t regret getting infected. Sure, they move on, because dwelling on it is pointless, but even with today’s meds, plenty still deal with crap worse than the minor inconvenience of taking a pill — from intenstinal discomfort to disfiguring lipodystrophy to early heart disease — not to mention negative effects on military and other careers, dealing with headaches in dating and family relationships, and many other consequences of stigma (which, all attempts to combat it, can still be devastating to lives). In my book, there’s nothing arrogant about acknowledging that that sucks.
It’s great that you feel fine, but that’s not the same thing as being in perfect health. All other things being equal (and they’re still not, despite amazing advances) prevention is far preferable to getting an infection that would kill you without lifelong use of pharmaceuticals.
@Porgie: In 20 years of volunteering for HIV/AIDS service organizations, I have yet to meet a poz person who doesn’t regret getting infected. Sure, they move on, because dwelling on it is pointless, but even with today’s meds, plenty still deal with crap worse than the minor inconvenience of taking a pill — from intenstinal discomfort to disfiguring lipodystrophy to early heart disease — not to mention negative effects on military and other careers, dealing with headaches in dating and family relationships, and many other consequences of stigma (which, all attempts to combat it, can still be devastating to lives). In my book, there’s nothing arrogant about acknowledging that that sucks.
It will be interesting to see how AHF tries to stigmatize this new drug. Will it to be called the slut drug, just like PrEP.
@DonW: I totally agree with you. I have had to deal with lipodystrophy for years and it’s not fun at all.
I don’t understand why they can’t find a cure for HIV. We have a lot of drugs on the market now. I have probably taken 15 of them at one point and I have been undetectable the whole time. It’s the side effects that make me constantly change.
Let’s find a cure because all of this is BS to me.
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