Nav: Home

Knowing HIV levels are 'undetectable' may affect sexual behavior

June 15, 2017

June 15, 2017 - Understanding and responding to behavioral trends in groups that are at high risk for HIV infection is critical to the development of effective strategies that decrease HIV incidence and improve access to care. New research based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) system are presented in a special supplement to JAIDS: Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

"NHBS is able to guide local and national high-impact prevention strategies by identifying who is highest risk, what they are doing, and what services they need most," according to an introduction by Cyprian Wejnert, PhD, and colleagues of the NHBS Study Group.

NHBS Data Helps to Guide HIV Prevention in High-Risk Groups

The NHBS is an ongoing surveillance project that monitors behavioral risk factors, HIV testing behaviors, and use of prevention services and strategies in three high-risk groups: men who have sex with men (MSM), persons who inject drugs (PWID), and heterosexuals of low socioeconomic status in urban areas. "Accurate data on the behaviors in these populations are critical for understanding trends in HIV infection and planning and evaluating effective HIV prevention activities," Dr. Wejnert and coauthors write.

The special issue presents 21 new research papers using NHBS data to evaluate and inform HIV prevention efforts. Among the findings are insights into HIV testing trends; recent declines in HIV diagnoses among African-American women; new evidence on the effectiveness of syringe services programs to reduce high-risk behavior among PWID; and examples of innovative programs developed to reach high-risk groups in communities across the United States.

A study by H. Fisher Raymond, DrPH, of the San Francisco Department of Public Health looks at interactions between HIV prevention efforts and sexual risk behaviors among MSM with known HIV infection. In the past decade, San Francisco has introduced a "Treatment as Prevention" (TasP) approach, in which people are started on antiviral drugs as soon as their HIV infection is diagnosed.

When taken the right way, every day, antiviral drugs reduce the amount of HIV in the blood and elsewhere in the body to such low levels that viral activity, measured as viral load, can no longer be detected. This is called undetectable viral load, or viral suppression. Suppressing HIV in the blood to "undetectable" levels has many health benefits. It helps people living with HIV live longer, healthier lives and dramatically reduces the risk of transmitting HIV.

Of 68 men included in the study, 58 believed they had undetectable HIV levels while nine believed they had detectable levels. In both groups, blood tests showed that 97 percent of men accurately knew their viral status.

Knowing one's viral suppression status appeared to be associated with differences in sexual risk reduction strategies.

The results suggest that MSM who have achieved viral suppression on treatment--knowing that they have a low risk of transmitting HIV--may adapt their sexual practices accordingly. The authors point out that the observed difference was not statistically significant, likely due to the small size of the study.

"More research is necessary to assess how HIV-positive men account for viral load in sexual decision-making practices, and this research many inform resource allocation and clinical recommendations to maintain the health of MSM populations," Dr. Raymond and coauthors write. They note their study doesn't reflect newer risk-reduction strategies--especially pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), in which uninfected people who are at risk of HIV take medications to reduce their risk of becoming infected.

"The papers in our NHBS supplement point out that we are in a new era of HIV treatment and prevention, given the clear effects of treatment on transmission and the clear benefits of PrEP," comments Paul A. Volberding, MD, of University of California San Francisco, Editor-in-Chief of JAIDS. "This is an excellent time to record where we stand and to develop plans for continued surveillance."
-end-
Click here to read "Self-Perceived Viral Load and Sexual Risk Behavior Among Known HIV-Positive MSM in San Francisco, 2014."

Article: "Self-Perceived Viral Load and Sexual Risk Behavior Among Known HIV-Positive MSM in San Francisco, 2014" (doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001405)

About JAIDS

JAIDS: Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (http://www.JAIDS.com) is the trusted, interdisciplinary resource for HIV- and AIDS-related information with a strong focus on basic science, clinical science, and epidemiology. Co-edited by the foremost leaders in clinical virology, molecular biology, and epidemiology, JAIDS publishes vital information on the advances in diagnosis and treatment of HIV infections, as well as the latest research in the development of therapeutics and vaccine approaches. This ground-breaking journal brings together rigorously peer-reviewed articles, reviews of current research, results of clinical trials, and epidemiologic reports from around the world.

About Wolters Kluwer

Wolters Kluwer N.V. (AEX: WKL) is a global leader in information services and solutions for professionals in the health, tax and accounting, risk and compliance, finance and legal sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized technology and services.

Wolters Kluwer reported 2016 annual revenues of €4.3 billion. The company, headquartered in Alphen aan den Rijn, the Netherlands, serves customers in over 180 countries, maintains operations in over 40 countries and employs 19,000 people worldwide.

Wolters Kluwer shares are listed on Euronext Amsterdam (WKL) and are included in the AEX and Euronext 100 indices. Wolters Kluwer has a sponsored Level 1 American Depositary Receipt program. The ADRs are traded on the over-the-counter market in the U.S. (WTKWY).

For more information about our solutions and organization, visit http://www.wolterskluwer.com, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Wolters Kluwer Health

Related Hiv Articles:

The Lancet HIV: Severe anti-LGBT legislations associated with lower testing and awareness of HIV in African countries
This first systematic review to investigate HIV testing, treatment and viral suppression in men who have sex with men in Africa finds that among the most recent studies (conducted after 2011) only half of men have been tested for HIV in the past 12 months.
The Lancet HIV: Tenfold increase in number of adolescents on HIV treatment in South Africa since 2010, but many still untreated
A new study of more than 700,000 one to 19-year olds being treated for HIV infection suggests a ten-fold increase in the number of adolescents aged 15 to 19 receiving HIV treatment in South Africa, according to results published in The Lancet HIV journal.
Starting HIV treatment in ERs may be key to ending HIV spread worldwide
In a follow-up study conducted in South Africa, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have evidence that hospital emergency departments (EDs) worldwide may be key strategic settings for curbing the spread of HIV infections in hard-to-reach populations if the EDs jump-start treatment and case management as well as diagnosis of the disease.
NIH HIV experts prioritize research to achieve sustained ART-free HIV remission
Achieving sustained remission of HIV without life-long antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a top HIV research priority, according to a new commentary in JAMA by experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
First ever living donor HIV-to-HIV kidney transplant
For the first time, a person living with HIV has donated a kidney to a transplant recipient also living with HIV.
More Hiv News and Hiv Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...