Friday, February 01, 2008

There Are Mighty Big Holes in This Swiss Twist Mix-Up Where HIV-Positive Sexual Partners Having Unprotected Sex Are Defined As Practicing Safer Sex

Swiss change safe sex message on HIVSay people with virus can have unprotected sex with partnersGENEVA (AP) Jan 31, 3:15 PM

Swiss AIDS experts said Thursday that some people with HIV who meet strict conditions and are under treatment can safely have unprotected sex with non-infected partners.

The proposal astonished AIDS researchers in Europe and North America who have long argued that safe sex with a condom is the single most effective way of preventing the spread of the disease — apart from abstinence.

"Not only is (the Swiss proposal) dangerous, it's misleading and it is not considering the implications of the biological facts involved with HIV transmission," said Jay Levy, director of the Laboratory for Tumor and AIDS Virus Research at the University of California in San Francisco.

The Swiss National AIDS Commission said patients who can satisfy strict conditions, including successful antiretroviral treatment to suppress the virus and who do not have any other sexually transmitted diseases, do not pose a danger to others. The proposal was published this week in the Bulletin of Swiss Medicine.

The Swiss scientists took as their starting point a 1999 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, which showed that transmission depends strongly on the viral load in the blood.

The other studies had also found that patients on regular AIDS treatment did not pass on the virus, and that HIV could not be detected in their genital fluids.

"Let's be clear, the decision has to remain with the HIV-negative partner," said Pietro Vernazza, head of infectious diseases at the cantonal hospital of St. Gallen in Switzerland and an author of the report.

The studies cited by the Swiss commission did not themselves definitively conclude whether people with HIV and on antiretroviral treatment could safely have unprotected sex without passing on the virus.

The World Health Organization said Switzerland would be the first country in the world to try this approach.

"There is still some concern that you can never guarantee that somebody will not be infectious, and the evidence I have to say is not conclusive," said Charlie Gilks, director of AIDS treatment and prevention at WHO.

"We are not going to be changing in any way our very clear recommendations that people on treatment continue to practice safer sex, including protected sex with a condom, in any relationship," he added.

In any case, of the 2 million people worldwide now receiving HIV treatment, only a very small number receive medical care comparable to that in Switzerland, Gilks said.

This is a crazy, insane notion proposed by the Swiss. I can't believe a powerful and influencial body like the Swiss National AIDS Commission could reach such a conclusion.

And with such a romantic holiday, Valentine's Day, coming up, this definitely sends a mixed message.


Lewis said...

Oh my god, THERE YOU ARE! I thought we'd missed you and that you'd disappeared. Glad to see you around....even though it's with a stern, clear message.....which we all thank you for! Giant warm naked winter sloppy wet HUGS>

JB said...

That's just nuts.

Robguy said...

I don't think it's that nuts - they are just reporting the science, not the social strategy. Like they say, it's only in a very narrow band that someone can be non-contagious. I don't think that qualifies as an invitation for people to behave recklessly.

Tony said...

I think, and hope, a person with reasonable common sense doesn't dismiss all the info we have from the past for this one little blurb. I think until anything is fully tested with years of results, you risk playing with the FIRE!

Leonard said...

No glove, No love. Make it your mantra and it will work for you. Regardless of the "studies". ;-) peace

cola boy said...

Unbelievable! I only hope no one actual believes this crap from the Swiss. I would like to know if the actually tested this theory of theirs.