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Experts Claim HIV Patients Made Non-Infectious

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the shot-in-the-arm dept.

Medicine 394

Misanthrope writes to tell us that Swiss scientists are claiming that with proper treatment HIV patients can be made non-infectious. "The statement's headline statement says that 'after review of the medical literature and extensive discussion,' the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV / AIDS resolves that, 'An HIV-infected person on antiretroviral therapy with completely suppressed viraemia ("effective ART") is not sexually infectious, i.e. cannot transmit HIV through sexual contact.'"

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I'm not infected baby... Really.... (5, Funny)

bagboy (630125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299580)

I promise...... Trust me....

Re:I'm not infected baby... Really.... (5, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299646)

It's worth noting that this finding is only valid if there are no other STIs present--so if you've got the clap -and- HIV, you'll still be more likely to transmit it.

Wasn't there an article a short while ago about how treating concurrent STIs also tended to decrease the rate of AIDs infection in an area? Perhaps this is related?

Re:I'm not infected baby... Really.... (3, Insightful)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299748)

Given that the same high risk behaviour that spreads HIV also spreads other STDs, I can't see this will actually help much.

Re:I'm not infected baby... Really.... (4, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299806)

Not all people who contract AIDS are engaging (voluntarily, anyway) in high-risk behavior.

Also, treating STDs would provide opportunity for conversion of high-risk behaviors into lower-risk behaviors, e.g. you're in the office anyway, why not have a little talk about safe sex while you're there?

Hence, treating the other (usually more obvious) STDs would presumably impact the treatment of AIDS for a number of reasons--counselling, earlier detection, and possible reduction of the viral load to a less-dangerous level.

Re:I'm not infected baby... Really.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300556)

high risk behaviour

You mean having sex.

dontaidsmebro (1)

Xelios (822510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299908)

I swear, sometimes the tags are the best part about /.

Thanks for the laugh

Re:I'm not infected baby... Really.... (4, Funny)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300470)

I'm not infected baby... Really.... I promise...... Trust me....

Given that this is on Slashdot, that's pretty much a given.

Old News (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22299584)

I have HIV and I haven't used a condom in several years with dozens of sexual partners.

Nobodoy has called me back saying they have AIDS, so I must not be infectious.

Re:Old News (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22299830)

Reminds me of Mitch Hedberg's "indirect" AIDS test.

"Hey Joe, do you know anyone who has AIDS? No? Cool... 'cause you know me."

I can hear the spam comming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300088)

I am just waiting for Goatse Troll to say "Goatse: HIV free for 15... minutes"

Re:Old News (0, Flamebait)

AmigaMMC (1103025) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300262)

I was wondering how many minutes it would take for an idiot to make fun of an epidemic that has killed thousands of people. Congratulations on being that idiot!

Re:Old News (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300386)

Everything is funny. Some things just aren't funny to you.

Re:Old News (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300288)

Can you top me tonight? I'm at the Holland Michigan Interstate exit. denny's bathroom. last stall. Ask for "Taco". I have a goatee and a loose asshole waiting for a nice hard cock.

Encouraging news (2, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299592)

One can only hope that the treatments can be made available at a decent price, so that the folks who are most likely to pass it on--poor people who don't know how to use contraception and the like--will be able to be treated.

Unlikely, though, I dare say...those drug companies do love their income.

Re:Encouraging news (3, Interesting)

nonsequitor (893813) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299658)

It is my understanding anti-retroviral treatment is very expensive. For this to have any effect on the spread of HIV, every infected person in the third world needs treatment.

I wonder how many months in Iraq it would cost to do something like that.

Re:Encouraging news (2, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299730)

Thus my comment about the drug companies.

Though IIRC, there was a recent article about a couple of patents being overturned for some AIDS drug or another; this would make (presumably lower-cost) generics available.

My personal opinion is that these drugs (of all kinds) would likely be a lot less expensive if the companies that made them did not advertise all over the place--because, frankly, they're all only available with prescriptions anyway; why not trust the doctors to prescribe what's best for the patient, rather than what's in this month's issue of People?

Re:Encouraging news (1)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299858)

No, they'd be the same price, you just wouldn't have as many morons going to the doctor and demanding Fooviroflex(TM) instead of what was actually best.
Downside is that then drug companies can't boost consumption (& therefore profits) via ads.

Re:Encouraging news (2, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300254)

Part of the problem is that often the patient DOES know better than the doctor. I can honestly say that I have not had a doctor do, or say anything to me that I did not already know since I was about 10 years old. I have on the other hand had doctors tell me things that were simply wrong. I'm sure there are some good doctors out there, but the nature of our medical industry leaves most of us diagnosing our own illness. Not out of hubris, but out of necessity.

Re:Encouraging news (1, Troll)

tezbobobo (879983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300132)

Not as much as involuntary castration of males with HIV and cutting off the hands of those who inject.

I wouldn't seriously consider that though. I'm just saying.

Re:Encouraging news (2, Insightful)

nonsequitor (893813) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300528)

Wow, thats right up there with putting the infected into concentration camps. Your trolling needs work, it has to be believable that you personally hold that opinion to elicit the shrill responses a good troll will get.

My point above was that this is not viable for mass treatment and will only be available to the privileged elite like Magic Johnson. Though you are technically correct about the effectiveness of your method, you've raised a fundamental ethics question: Is saving the species from disease worth it at the cost of our humanity?

This is fundamental to the ethical debate behind many emerging technologies like embrionic stem cell research, where the answer is unclear to many. However, I think its safe to say that compulsory mutilation has a lot less grey area.

Re:Encouraging news (1)

RegTooLate (1135209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300440)

Better yet, how many library of congresses a month would it cost to do something like that?

Re:Encouraging news (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22299790)

"-poor people who don't know how to use contraception and the like--will be able to be treated."

So you think it's likely that these people you describe, the ones who don't know how to use a condom or reliably take birth control pills, will be able to take their antiretrovirals, usually several times daily, and not appreciably miss doses to keep their viral load down for at least SIX MONTHS (yes - i read the article) is the more likely outcome?

This is an intersting finding, but not what you think it is.

Re:Encouraging news (4, Insightful)

tezbobobo (879983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300542)

You may have read the article but your missing some pieces of the puzzle. The people who catch and spread aids via condom misuse are those who do not care in the 'heat of the moment'. Birth control pills don't enter the equation because they have nothing to do with the spread of Aids, except perhaps to persuade those who do not have them to use a little more abstinence.

The best way to deliver these drugs would be to use a system similar to implanon if available, whereby any drug are implanted subdermally and released slowly. The benefit is that by having a steady stream lower doses can be used. Secondly, governments are constantly comparing the future costs of care for incapacitated aids patients to current treatment cost. When a sufficiently effective solution presents itself - if the cost benefit is good - governments *will* pay for it.

Re:Encouraging news (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299876)

One can only hope that the treatments can be made available at a decent price, so that the folks who are most likely to pass it on--poor people who don't know how to use contraception and the like--will be able to be treated.

It seems to me that once you have HIV then rich or poor this doesn't help you much, it's more of a help your community. So the incentives for treatment are a bit unusual. If there was ever a case for government funding of a drug, it's here, ie in the absence of any real personal benefit for the individual who would otherwise be asked to pay.

Also, if this works it doesn't really matter if it doesn't get absolutely everywhere; if you only reduce the transmisability of a disease in a population you can stop an epidemic.

Re:Encouraging news (4, Interesting)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300074)

Those were my first thoughts, make this available as a way to protect the community.

If we can do bullshit like keep two ounces of mouthwash off a plane, while letting one ounce on, then we can get effective disease prevention to our population.

Then I thought more, since I live in America where reality based communities don't alway align with the faith based government.

My government hates sex. My government hates gays. My government thinks AIDS is a gay disease. AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease, and my government is not going to subsidize someones sex life.

My government will do nothing but continue to say abstinence is the only way to remain disease free.

Captcha = unfair

Re:Encouraging news (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300210)

Actually, having worked in third world medical aid I can say categorically that there is a benefit to the patients receiving these drugs. So it's win win for the people taking the drugs (their quality of life is improved, they live longer) and the community.

Aids is no longer the death sentence it once was. It's like diabetes, if left untreated it is fatal but it can be treated successfully. If they can just eliminate the transmission aspect, then this scourge will be gone in a few generations.

Re:Encouraging news (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300208)

Unless you have been reading the literature and noticing that the rates of Gonorrhea, Syphilis and other sexually-transmitted diseases have gone up.

From that perspective, considering many of these are now drug-resistant strains, it's not really encouraging news.

qwertyuiop (0)

overcaffein8d (1101951) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299610)

[insert no-sex-anyway geek jokes here]

Re:qwertyuiop (0)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300194)

"[insert no-sex-anyway geek jokes here]"

4 reasons why they tested this on lawyers instead of lab mice:

  1. Testers might get attached to the mice
  2. Animal rights groups won't protest
  3. There are some things mice just won't do

AIDS free world (4, Insightful)

qmaqdk (522323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299636)

If this is true, then it effectively means that the world can be AIDS free in a generation. I'm willing to bet it's not going to happen, though. The drug companies have no interest in this.

Re:AIDS free world (2, Interesting)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299708)

Drug companies aside, there's no way this would be used anytime soon in 3rd world countries, so the problem will simply continue to grow there.

What this needs is widespread proof and then some major government backing. Then, maybe.

Re:AIDS free world (2, Insightful)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299724)

They only talk about sex. How about drug addicts and dirty needles?

Re:AIDS free world (3, Informative)

_merlin (160982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300100)

Well the major infection vector for AIDS is sex. In Africa, it's primarily heterosexual sex; in Australia it's primarily homosexual sex; in Vietnam it's primarily heterosexual sex. Either way, AIDS is primarily spread by people having sex. Drug addicts and dirty needles is just a tiny blip on the radar for AIDS.

Drug addicts less significant in Switzerland (2, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300364)

They only talk about sex.
Because in Switzerland, that's the main mode of transmission by which people may catch AIDS.

How about drug addicts and dirty needles?
There have been extensive efforts against dirty needles. Drug addicts can easily have access to "Kits" that contain proper sterile equipment (syringes, spoons, citrate, alcohol to clean the injection site, etc). They can either buy it cheaply from pharmacies or receive it for free from some organisation. Such efforts have drastically reduced the occurrence of syringe sharing and help drop the HIV transmission rates.
I think TFA concentrates on sexual transmission because dirty needles have really become rarer in Switzerland, and thus play a less significant role in the AIDS transmission compared to before the introduction of these efforts (or compared to other countries where such efforts don't exist).

Re:AIDS free world (1)

contraba55 (1217056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299772)

I wouldn't be so pessimistic. Assuming this works, I imagine governments will subsidize it. Companies get their money, the infected get their drugs, and then our grandchildren don't worry.

Small pox? (2, Interesting)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299936)

Just like drug companies had no interest in eliminating small pox? There are plenty of diseases to go around, and more of them turn up all the time.

Admittedly, I'm too young to appreciate the politics that went on when small pox was "eradicated", so it would be nice if anyone can point out what's so different about the small pox issue and the AIDS issue.

Re:Small pox? (4, Insightful)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300174)

Smallpox? You kidding me? The eradication of smallpox was a time of big governments, big non-profits, and a concerted effort for the greater good not for profit.

Also, back in the late 1700s, someone couldn't patent a scab off of a cows back.

Re:Small pox? (2, Insightful)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300426)

Also, back in the late 1700s, someone couldn't patent a scab off of a cows back.
Plus you could test treatments on orphans without the risk of being sued.

Re:Small pox? (3, Informative)

CatPieMan (460995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300224)

Small Pox was eradicated due primarily to an immunization effort that spanned the 19th and 20th centuries. Unlike HIV (as far as I am aware), there are two viruses that appear to the human immune system as the same. One causes small pox, the other causes Cow Pox. Essentially, the immunization to small pox is to expose a person to cow pox. They get a feaver for a couple days to a week (along the lines of Chicken Pox), but then become immune to Small Pox.

With the Small Pox vaccine, once exposed to the alternative, you become immune to Small Pox. HIV is the opposite, once you are exposed, it will kill you.

As bad as it was, Small Pox was a 20-60% mortality rate (see wikipedia), which is horrible, but there was a chance. HIV is a 100% mortality rate, it just takes a bit longer. If we could find a way to create immunity from HIV, it would die out.

Most of the treatments for HIV simply extend the person's life, probably with the hope that they live long enough to find a cure. The drugs are not pleasant, and often make the person ill while trying to swallow them.

I too am too young to really appreciate not having to worry about Small Pox. I'm not even sure I was given the shot, as I was born after it was declared eradicated (1979).

Re:Small pox? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300402)

HIV is a 100% mortality rate, it just takes a bit longer.

You just described life, the universe, and everything.

Re:Small pox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300270)

it would be nice if anyone can point out what's so different about the small pox issue and the AIDS issue.

The former was "eradicated" before the trend of drug companies hiring hordes of lobbyists and writing their own legislation.

Re:Small pox? (2, Informative)

Chancey (1095381) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300462)

Unfortunately this does not parallel the smallpox eradication... smallpox was a very unique case as far as human diseases go. First, smallpox was eradicated through the use of vaccines (first produced over 200 years ago [wikipedia.org] ), which require only one exposure to prevent a person from getting infected. There were also numerous efforts to eradicate smallpox spanning almost 150 years, and culminating in the massive, coordinated effort from the WHO (World Health Organization, not the band) to eliminate smallpox from Africa and India in the 60s-70s.

To similarly eliminate HIV we would either need a similar vaccine, or to force every single HIV patient in the world (estimated 33-46 million) to adhere to a complicated anti-retroviral therapy for the remainder of their lives.

The situation for HIV better parallels tuberculosis, which can be effectively cured by common (and relatively inexpensive) antibiotics, but remains prevalent because the treatment regimen is quite long and requires strict patient compliance.

Also, since smallpox was eradicated by a very well studied vaccine, there was no patent holder to collect royalties...

Re:AIDS free world (4, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299986)

We've had a cure for tuberculosis for quite some time as well as polio, yet they are still around. TB still kills many people and has become drug resistant, because people don't take their meds on a regular schedule. If you don't take your aids medicine on time ( a more complex drug regimen), you will still be infectious. But none of that is particularly new. The new aspect is that they say that its not contagious when you have been on the regimen for a while.

Now, the optimistic among us would have hopped that those on drug regimen knew they could spread the disease and modify their behavior accordingly. So this announcement should actually have little affect. If you were doing what the doctors told you to do, you weren't spreading the disease same as before. Maybe this would act as a motivation for some people? But it also might cause people to engage in riskier behavior and compound the issue.

Re:AIDS free world (2, Insightful)

matt me (850665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300446)

Know anyone with smallpox?

Yes... (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300516)

the CDC [cdc.gov] .

Re:AIDS free world (1)

madbrain (11432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300500)

Unfortunately it's not possible to guarantee you are non-infectious at anytime. Sometimes the drugs will stop working. And doctors only check viral load every few months. There could be increases in viral load before you or your doctor know it. So you could still become infectious even if you were not before.

Proper testing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22299652)

OK, who is the first person willing to test if this treatment really works? I for one would rather not risk my life for that.

Wow (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299654)

Can you imagine the shitstorm that would ensue if they're wrong? It takes a whole lot of balls to not just put your reputation on the line like this, but the lives of thousands of people too. I really hope they're right.

Re:Wow (1)

bagboy (630125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299742)

>>Can you imagine the shitstorm that would ensue if they're wrong? Not to mention the number of people claiming to have been treated for a one-nighter, yet never received any treatment. How would you verify? (See first post.)

Re:Wow (5, Interesting)

VGR (467274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299972)

They covered their bases. This is one of the most informative and honest articles I've seen in a long time. They make a point of saying, more than once, that they're not positive a treated person is not infectious, but their certainty is equal to the certainty with which the scientific community asserted in 1986 that kissing cannot spread HIV (an assertion that continues to hold up to this day).

Interestingly, they are not recommending the treatment for widespread use, because many people have trouble rigorously adhering to a treatment schedule, and even a little slip in the treatment could result in the creation of a resistant strain of HIV. I'd hate to be the doctor who has to pass that judgement: "Before I treat you, how do I know you won't skip an occasional treatment, thereby creating a scourge of humankind that's even harder to treat than the HIV we have now?"

not that it matters really.. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22299660)

since it's only a disease of fags and niggers.

well monkeys too, but niggers and monkeys are one in the same. didn't hiv come from a gang of buck niggers fucking a bunch of monkeys?

Re:not that it matters really.. (1)

tezbobobo (879983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300432)

and cats. there are many types of feline immuno virii. my cat had one. don't forget cats.

Its no cure (get it & you're still going to di (2, Insightful)

crovira (10242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299664)

but it does make life possible for those around you.

I sucks but its a step in the right direction. (But will any company take the next step; after all, once YOU're dead, the disease is eradicated.)

Sucks to think like an actuary...

Re:Its no cure (get it & you're still going to (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22299740)

I've got some shocking news for you: even if you don't get HIV, you're going to die

Re:Its no cure (get it & you're still going to (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22299928)

You know, for guys in there late 40s, and have good access to healthcare they can expect a good quality of life for almost (if not exactly) as long as their non infected peers. That's not to say it doesn't suck, but HAART treatment is pretty good.

Re:Its no cure (get it & you're still going to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22299984)

going to di... what? die? just so you know, almost no one in the Western world dies of HIV/Aids anymore

Re:Its no cure (get it & you're still going to (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300134)

It seems worth pointing out that most people who don't get it are also going to die.

Re:Its no cure (get it & you're still going to (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300614)

get it & you're still going to die
Or don't get it, and you'll still die.

The question remains... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22299674)

Will anyone take the chance that it won't work?

it's true (1)

Kerstyun (832278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299714)

Cut they're cock's off and staple their pussy's shut, and may GOD have mercy on there holes.

Re:it's true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300148)

You're a little bit inbred, aren't you? I mean your grammar is atrocious. "Cut they are cock is and staple their (wow you got that one right, but I'm sure it's by chance!) pussy is shut..." People like you shouldn't be allowed near computers until they reach an IQ of about 80.

Improbable, Not Impossible (2, Insightful)

thePsychologist (1062886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299762)

It's in the article but non-infectious here does not mean it's impossible for HIV transmission during sex. It's only improbable and of course the probability of transfer is unknown - as even in the studies done with these drugs other protection measures were used (of course). Furthermore this is not new; rather it's a statement made by a few experts based on older research. The statement is meant to be a standard taken throughout the healthcare world.

I think I'll let the doctors go first... (0)

wtansill (576643) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299826)

I mean, they're certain about this, right? In that case, I think they should waive their ethics in this case and try sleeping with some of their supposedly "non-sexually-infectious" patients, and then report our on their success or failure. Go ahead doc -- I'll wait... <sound of crickets chirping>...

Re:I think I'll let the doctors go first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300058)

About as certain that HIV causes AIDS. Find me the scientific evidence that HIV causes AIDS, and we'll talk.

Re:I think I'll let the doctors go first... (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300144)

The article begins by stating that the Commission "realises that medical and biologic data available today do not permit proof that HIV-infection during effective antiretroviral therapy is impossible, because the non-occurrence of an improbable event cannot be proven. If no transmission events were observed among 100 couples followed for two years, for instance, there might still be some such events if 10,000 couples are followed for ten years. The situation is analogous to 1986, when the statement 'HIV cannot be transmitted by kissing' was publicised. This statement has not been proven, but after 20 years' experience its accuracy appears highly plausible."
Maybe you should read the article before being a smartass?

Your best bet... (0)

DarkTitan_X (905442) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299828)

Is abstinence really that difficult? Why even take a risk? I guess the real good news is that men with HIV can now reproduce without risk of having their child be HIV positive. Story might be different for HIV positive mothers.

Re:Your best bet... (4, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299900)

You're asking people other than you to change their behavior based on your principles?

If you can figure out how to accomplish that reliably, then every government, armed service, advertising agency, and school wants to speak with you right now.

Re:Your best bet... (1, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300392)

You're asking people other than you to change their behavior based on your principles?

I'd venture to guess that not having sex if you are infected with AIDS is a pretty universal principle, much in the same way that murder is universally frowned upon.

Re:Your best bet... (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300592)

I'd venture to guess that not having sex if you are infected with AIDS is a pretty universal principle, much in the same way that murder is universally frowned upon.
Most people equate "having sex" with "breathing"... At least as far as "even if I could stop, I really don't think I'd want to".

Re:Your best bet... (2, Funny)

MT628496 (959515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299934)

Is abstinence really that difficult?
Not for most of the people on Slashdot

Re:Your best bet... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22299994)

It is your duty as modern enlightened people to downmod whoever mentions "abstinence" as a response to sexually transmitted infections.

Re:Your best bet... (1)

hxftw (996114) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300374)

Why?

Re:Your best bet... (5, Insightful)

TehDuffman (987864) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300054)

Is abstinence really that difficult?
Yes

Re:Your best bet... (1)

hxftw (996114) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300434)

How is it difficult? Can you give me a good reason?

Re:Your best bet... (2, Insightful)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300064)

well its obviously not currently working, so i think thats why they're still trying to find a cure/preventative.

Re:Your best bet... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300076)

HIV can also spread through "dirty" needles [needles re-used in medicine] blood transfusions + rape. then there's the practice of inheriting wives whose husbands have died from AIDS- those who refuse are often rejected by society and left to fend for themselves which frankly is a tough choice for someone who in all probability has children that would die from malnutrition/lack of medical care otherwise.

Re:Your best bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300514)

HIV can also spread through "dirty" needles [needles re-used in medicine] blood transfusions + rape.


Dunno about where you're from, but around here syringes are not re-used in medicine, and whenever a blood donation is taken, blood samples are taken to test for HIV and other blood-borne diseases, and the donated unit of blood cannot be used for transfusion until it's passed the tests.

Of course, rape, consensual sex where someone doesn't know they're infected, illicit drug use, etc are still likely ways for the virus to be transmitted.

Re:Your best bet... (1)

LordKazan (558383) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300102)

they've been able to fairly reliably block mother->featus AIDS transmission for a while now

Re:Your best bet... (1)

SilverAlicorn (986453) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300156)

Abstinence really is difficult when reproduction is one of the strongest biological urges humans have.

Not to mention the fact that sex isn't the only way to spread HIV (needles, blood transfusions). If there's a way to deactivate it for good, do it.

Re:Your best bet... (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300594)

The act is the biological urge, not so much the end result.

There is a lot more sex for pleasure than for reproduction.

Re:Your best bet... (3, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300158)

Is abstinence really that difficult?

You want the average human to stop doing what evolution has spent 300 million years programming them to do? Its kind of like asking bears to not eat trout. Its what they do!

Re:Your best bet... (4, Interesting)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300358)

>You want the average human to stop doing what evolution has spent 300 million years programming them to do?

Really? Evolution has been progrmaming people to kill their mates through disease? Whoa, I've missed a lot in sex ed!

I love how only the most base animal desires get propped out by evolution. I love how people just never say "Hey evolution has instilled logic and compassion into humans." Or "Evolution has instilled moral action" Or "Evolution has instilled guilt and conscious thought." Instead its always fuck and kill, and if you think thats all evolution can do then youre sorely mistaken.

The real question is the ease of being able to control one's sexual desires vs the the control compassion and empathy have on us. Considering your comment could be (and has) been used to justify everything from rape to office sexual harassment, its interesting how society hasnt given up on some basic moral structures. Evolution again! Tricky aint it?

Re:Your best bet... (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300354)

Is abstinence really that difficult?
I guess it's about as difficult for the average person as you having the opportunity to turn down someone's sexual advances.

Re:Your best bet... (2)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300422)

Is abstinence really that difficult?

Historically it has certainly proven to be. Not everyone on this planet is educated, has enough wealth that prostitution isn't tempting, or even is in a position to say no if they wish to. You're not talking about the abstinence of a few wealthy individuals but of everyone on the planet infected with an STD.

yeah right, you go first (1)

eiapoce (1049910) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299888)

the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV / AIDS resolves that, 'An HIV-infected person on antiretroviral therapy with completely suppressed viraemia ("effective ART") is not sexually infectious, i.e. cannot transmit HIV through sexual contact
I can remember also that newspaper were promoting Extasy as a new social drug with no side effects, marijuana as a healthy habit, Avian Flu as doom of the world and RIAA protecting artists revenues... yeah right, I'll keep this news in that space in my mind...

Re:yeah right, you go first (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300172)

I can remember also that newspaper were promoting Ecstasy as a new social drug with no side effects,
With moderation it's not overly harmful.

marijuana as a healthy habit,
The smoke is bad, but if you vaporize it or eat it it's not unhealthy...

How would life be if the world smoked weed?
Guaranteed there'd be peace not greed, ...
Legalize the plant only time will tell,

Re:yeah right, you go first (1)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300546)

marijuana as a healthy habit


As far as I am aware there is no proof in any credible scientific, peer reviewed journals that states conclusively marijuana is an unhealthy habit aside from the act of smoking. Which is going to have consequences regardless of the material being smoked.

That is the problem with The War On Drugs, there is no hard science to base their claims on for most substances. It's mostly a do as I say because I said it kind of thing.

I believe a well informed populace, free to choose what they want to put in their bodies is the key to a more stable society. At least in regards the effects illicit drug use are having in this day and age.

Still (1)

Nysem (1226462) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299892)

I still wouldn't take that kind of risk even if the person that had AIDS (Not necessarily to my knowledge) wasn't "infectious."

Every other STD out there is still just as infectious/contagious, and there are STDs that are more common than HIV. If people would stop sleeping with everybody, there probably wouldn't be any need for this. You're still gonna die a horrible disease ridden death. Work on finding a cure instead of giving HIV patients an excuse to have sex anyway.

AIDs is still a possible species killer. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299930)

From where I stand, AIDS could eventually be a species killer like in 'I am Legend'. Considering no one who contracts this virus survives.

Re:AIDs is still a possible species killer. (1)

EVil Lawyer (947367) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300072)

Where are you standing, exactly? The intersection of Total Stupidity St. and Complete Idiocy Lane?

Re:AIDs is still a possible species killer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300082)

Similar to being born, no one makes it out alive.

Re:AIDs is still a possible species killer. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300122)

Probably not, barring some kind of major mutation. 1. It's hard to transmit, requiring sexual or blood contact. A significant portion, maybe even a majority, of the American population for example is in monogamous relationships and doesn't do drugs. 2. Its slow to spread. Before you get AIDS, you get HIV, and sometimes HIV never really develops into AIDS, other times it takes decades. In either case the specimen has ample time to reproduce. Even if HIV mutates to overcome both of those things, in the long term it would kill off huge segments of the species where it can easily take hold, it is extremely likely some part of the species will be able to resist it. Now would that be you or me? Different question...

Legal ramifications (1)

Stephmtl (1159729) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299940)

If this is proven to be true, would anyone who knowingly has sex when 'infectious' be culpable of criminal negligence? if:
A. you can easily get the treatment to become non-infectious
and
B. it's a well known procedure that you would have a reasonable chance of hearing about

IANAL, but i'd like to know what one might think

enough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22299964)

enough with the "what could possibly go wrong" tags! yes, there is risk involved in everything, and yes, you can always come up with something that can go wrong! i don't need someone to tell me that, i can figure it out myself just fine, thanks.

By what means are they non-infectious? (2, Insightful)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#22299990)

Is it just sexually? What about blood transfusions? What about sharing needles?

AIDS is spreading rapidly in different parts of the world by different means. In Africa and India/Asia, it's spreading because of unprotected sex. In eastern Europe and Russia, it's being spread predominately from dirty needles used for drugs.

biznatcH (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300086)

stand anymore, [slashdo7.org], #but it's not a

Define non-infectious (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300162)

If you mean they do not carry a sufficient load of antigens and viral packets, then perhaps this is the case.

If you mean they carry such a low number that they are unlikely (below 1 percent) to infect someone through non-invasive sex, then I could see that.

If you mean the virus is basically in a semi-dormant stage, then sure.

But that does not mean the risk factor is 0.000000001 percent. It means it's most likely a very small number.

Article Text (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300250)

Since every other post on here seems to be by someone who hasn't read the article... here it is:

Swiss HIV experts have produced the first-ever consensus statement to say that HIV-positive individuals on effective antiretroviral therapy and without sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are sexually non-infectious. The statement is published in this week's Bulletin of Swiss Medicine (Bulletin des médecins suisses). The statement also discusses the implications for doctors; for HIV-positive people; for HIV prevention; and the legal system.

The statement, on behalf of the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV / AIDS was authored by four of Switzerland's foremost HIV experts: Prof Pietro Vernazza, of the Cantonal Hospital in St. Gallen, and President of the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV / AIDS; Prof Bernard Hirschel from Geneva University Hospital; Dr Enos Bernasconi of the Lugano Regional Hospital; and Dr Markus Flepp, president of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health's Sub-committee on the clincal and therapeutic aspects of HIV / AIDS.

The statement's headline statement says that "after review of the medical literature and extensive discussion," the Swiss Federal Commission for HIV / AIDS resolves that, "An HIV-infected person on antiretroviral therapy with completely suppressed viraemia ("effective ART") is not sexually infectious, i.e. cannot transmit HIV through sexual contact."

It goes on to say that this statement is valid as long as:

        * the person adheres to antiretroviral therapy, the effects of which must be evaluated regularly by the treating physician, and

        * the viral load has been suppressed ( 40 copies/ml) for at least six months, and

        * there are no other sexually transmitted infections.

The article begins by stating that the Commission "realises that medical and biologic data available today do not permit proof that HIV-infection during effective antiretroviral therapy is impossible, because the non-occurrence of an improbable event cannot be proven. If no transmission events were observed among 100 couples followed for two years, for instance, there might still be some such events if 10,000 couples are followed for ten years. The situation is analogous to 1986, when the statement 'HIV cannot be transmitted by kissing' was publicised. This statement has not been proven, but after 20 years' experience its accuracy appears highly plausible."

It then states that the evidence for the Commission's current assertion about the relationship between treatment and sexual HIV transmisson is much more informed than what was available in 1986 regarding the transmission of HIV through kissing.

For example, they note, Quinn and colleagues found that in sero-discordant couples the risk of transmission depended on the viral load of the HIV-positive partner, and refer also to a prospective study of 393 heterosexual sero-discordant couples from Castilla and colleagues found that there were no infections among partners of persons on antiretroviral therapy, compared to a rate of transmission of 8.6% among partners of untreated patients. They also note that transmission from mother to newborn also depends on the maternal viral load, and can be avoided by taking antiretroviral therapy.

They go on to assert that effective antiretroviral therapy eliminates HIV from genital secretions. They say that HIV RNA, measured in sperm, declines below the limits of detection on antiretroviral therapy, and that HIV RNA is also below the limits of female genital secretions is, as a rule, during effective antiretroviral therapy. "As a rule," they write, "it rises after, not before, an increase in plasma viral load."

They also assert that although cell-associated viral genomes are present in genital secretions, even on antiretroviral therapy, these are not infectious virions since "HIV-containing cells in sperm lack markers of viral proliferations such as circular LTR-DNA."

They note that the concentration of HIV RNA in sperm correlates with the risk of transmission and that "transmission risk declines towards zero with falling sperm viral load. These data indicate that the risk of transmission is greatly decreased by antiretroviral therapy."

They add, however, several exceptions and caveats to the above statements:

        * After a few days or weeks of discontinuation of antiretroviral therapy, plasma viral load rises rapidly. There is at least one case report of transmission during this rebound.

        * In patients not on treatment, STIs such as urethritis or genital ulcer disease increase the genital viral load; it falls again after the STI is treated.

        * In a patient with urethritis, sperm viral load can rise slightly even while the patient is receiving effective treatment. This rise is small, however, much smaller that the rise observed in patients not on treatment.

They conclude the scientific part of the article by saying that: "During effective antiretroviral therapy, free virus is absent from blood and genital secretions. Epidemiologic and biologic data indicate that during such treatment, there is no relevant risk of transmission. Residual risk can not be scientifically excluded, but is, in the judgment of the Commission, negligibly small."

Implications for doctors

The Commission then discusses the implications for doctor-patient discussions. It says, "the following information aims to communicate to doctors criteria allowing them to establish whether or not a patient can sexually transmit HIV.
HIV cannot be transmitted sexually if:

        * The HIV-positive individual takes antiretroviral therapy consistently and as prescribed and is regularly followed by his/her doctor.

        * Viral load is 'undetectable' and has been so for at least six months

        * The HIV-positive individual does not have any STIs."

Implications for HIV-positive people

The Commission states that an HIV-positive person in a stable relationship with an HIV-negative partner, who follows their antiretroviral treatment consistently and as prescribed and who does not have an STI, is "not putting their partner at risk of transmission by sexual contact."

"Couples must understand," they write, "that adherence will become omnipresent in their relationship when they decide not to use protection, and due to the importance of STIs, rules must be defined for sexual contacts outside of relationship."

"The same goes for people who are not in a stable relationship," they add. However due to the importance of STIs, use of condoms is still recommended.

They add that heterosexual women will have to consider eventual interactions between contraceptives and antiretrovirals before considering stopping using condoms.

They also say that insemination via sperm washing is no longer indicated when "antiretroviral treatment is efficient."

Implications for HIV prevention

The Commission says that it "is not for the time being, considering recommendations that HIV-positive individuals start treatment purely for preventative measures." Aside from the cost involved, they argue, it cannot be certain that HIV-positive people would be sufficiently motivated to follow, and apply to the letter, antiretroviral treatment on a long-term basis without medical indications. They note that poor adherence is likely to facilitate the development of resistance, and that, therefore, antiretroviral therapy as prevention is indicated only in "exceptional circumstances for extremely motivated patients."

The Commission also says that their statement should not change prevention strategies currently taking place in Switzerland. With the exception of stable HIV-positive couples where HIV-positivity and the efficacy of antiretroviral therapy can be established, measures to protect oneself must be followed at all times. "People who are not in a stable relationship must protect themselves," they note, "as they would not be able to verify whether their partner is positive or on efficient antiretroviral therapy."

Implications for the legal system

Finally, the Commission says that courts will have to take into account the fact that HIV-positive people on antiretroviral treatment and without an STI cannot transmit HIV sexually in criminal HIV exposure and transmission cases.

They conclude by stating that the Commission thinks that unprotected sex between a positive person on antiretroviral treatment and without an STI, and an HIV-negative person, does not comply with the criteria for an "attempt at propagation of a dangerous disease" according to section 231 of the Swiss penal code nor for "an attempt to engender grievous bodily harm" according to section122, 123 or 125.

HIV viraemia? Help me get $50k! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22300410)

HIV viraemia has NEVER been found in humans (or any other place aside from an artificial lab dish full of artificial chemicals such as leukemia cultures).

You don't believe it? Just find the study that proves it. You don't even have to publish the study yourself, you just have to point it out. Find it and get US$50k! It's that simple! You can claim your prize here:

http://www.aliveandwell.org/ [aliveandwell.org]

HIV has never been found in blood, semen, or breast milk. That's why they resort to PCR, the DNA amplification technology behind the "viral load" exam (also used to amplify DNA from crime scenes). All the pictures, DNA sequences, and other crazy stuff about HIV we see on the press were created by lab technicians. It's never been found in nature.

By the way, the inventor of the PCR got a Nobel Prize for it (in 1993, chemistry nobel prize winner Kary Mullis). He is an HIV=AIDS skeptic and highly vocal about it. Google the subject. You may learn a thing or two.

Breaking news! (5, Funny)

TurinPT (1226568) | more than 6 years ago | (#22300414)

Scientists come up with a device to make HIV patients non-infections.
This scientific breakthrough will bring hope to millions of people infected with the virus.
Sources indicate it will be named 'condom'.
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