Today, Alison Rodger presented the results of the PARTNER 2 study at AIDS2018. PARTNER 2 is the follow-up to the PARTNER 1 study. The PARTNER studies examine whether HIV can be passed on by someone with an undetectable viral load (fewer than 200 copies of HIV RNA per milliliter of blood). The PARTNER studies took place in 14 European countries.
PARTNER 1 Study
The PARTNER 1 study monitored 888 serodiscordant couples (couples in which one partner is HIV-positive and the other is not) from 2010 to 2014. There were 548 heterosexual and 340 homosexual couples. In total, the couples had sex 58,000 times. No transmission of HIV occurred among the couples. Because the first study included relatively few homosexual couples, the PARTNER 2 study was started.
New Results of the PARTNER 2 Study
During the PARTNER 2 study, 443 homosexual serodiscordant couples were monitored from 2014 to 2018. In total, the couples had sex 77,000 times. This study also found no transmission of HIV among the couples.
As expected, the conclusion of the PARTNER 2 study is that HIV is not sexually transmittable when the viral load is undetectable. Alison Rodger joked that she looked very hard for transmission during the study but really could not find it. Bruce Richman of the U=U campaign closed the event by asking the question of what to do if someone calls U=U into question. Alison Rodger answered: “Undetectable = untransmittable. There are no excuses!”
Source: Rodger A et al. Risk of HIV transmission through condomless sex in gay couples with suppressive ART: The PARTNER 2 study expanded results in gay men. 22nd International AIDS Conference, Amsterdam, abstract WEAX0104LB, 2018.