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CDC makes groundbreaking announcement on HIV transmission

The United States' Centers for Disease Control has announced that those with an "undetectable" viral load are at "effectively no risk" of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.

Red HIV ribbon
Red HIV ribbon
In a "Dear Colleague" letter, released on National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the CDC wrote:

"People who take ART [antiretroviral therapy] daily as prescribed and achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner"

Bruce Richman executive director of  the Prevention Access Campaign's Undetectable=Untransmittable (U=U) campaign, told HIV Plus magazine, "This is the moment we have been waiting for!"

Still, Richman encouraged those living with HIV to exercise caution.

"This isn't advising people with HIV and their partners to abandon condoms or PrEP," he said.  "Being undetectable is another powerful option in the HIV prevention toolbox to be used in combination with other prevention options or independently depending on the circumstances."

The U=U campaign hopes to "help reduce HIV-related stigma" and urges those infected to "initiate and adhere to a successful treatment regimen."

The CDC's letter was not all good news though. The statement noted that more than 26,000 gay and bisexual men received an HIV diagnosis in 2015, and was a particular problem in the Hispanic/Latino community.

Additionally, many HIV-positive individuals are not getting proper treatment.

"Too many gay and bisexual men living with HIV are not getting the care and treatment they need," the statement read. "Among gay and bisexual men living with diagnosed HIV, 61% have achieved viral suppression, more than in previous years, but well short of where we want to be."
 
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