This past week saw the publication of encouraging new research on HIV transmission, as well as the announcement of a groundbreaking conference this June on HIV criminalization.
The lead investigators of the PARTNER studyannounced Tuesday at a major HIV conference that their study has yet to identify a single case in which someone with an undetectable viral load transmitted HIV to an HIV-negative partner, by either anal or vaginal sex. The ongoing study – which has recruited 1110 couples, 40% of them gay – is designed to assess the likelihood that someone on effective antiretroviral therapy will transmit HIV to a sexual partner. One conference report noted that “when asked what the study tells us about the chance of someone with an undetectable viral load transmitting HIV, [PARTNER researcher] Alison Rodger said: ‘Our best estimate [is] zero.’"
This week also brought word of a conference that will focus specifically on HIV criminalization – or the fact that in 33 states, HIV-positive people can be legally prosecuted for actions that pose little or no risk of HIV transmission. The Sero Project announced that HIV, LGBT, and other social justice advocates will gather in June at Grinnell College for the first-ever “HIV Is Not a Crime” conference. This national gathering “will empower participants with practical training and an emphasis on grassroots organizing to enable activists to better advocate for criminalization reform in their home states.”