Modelling study: no condom use after recent viral load test safer than intermittent condom use

Published: October 7, 2010

In stable gay couples, where one partner is taking HIV treatment and the other is HIV-negative, the risk of HIV transmission is relatively low if condoms are not used following a recent undetectable viral load test result. However, using condoms on a few more occasions but without reference to viral load substantially increases the risk of HIV transmission.  These are the findings of a mathematical modelling study, drawing on detailed data on viral loads in Dutch gay men, published online ahead of print in Sexually Transmitted Infections.

The model suggests that during the entire period that a first-line treatment regimen is taken, the risk of HIV transmission would be 1% if condoms are used all the time, 3% if condoms are not used after an undetectable viral load test in the past six months, 17% if condoms are used 30% of the time, and 22% if condoms are never used.

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