Monday, August 4, 2008

Sex report stirs controversy at AIDS conference

Sex report stirs controversy at AIDS conference - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Swiss researchers have suggested that patients with HIV whose infection is curbed by drugs do not pass on the virus during unprotected sex.

The announcement was welcomed with cheers but also tough questions on the opening day of the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico.

Their presentation came under challenge from some delegates, who feared it could encourage unsafe sex, but most attending the debate seemed to give a warm welcome.

In January, Switzerland's Federal Commission for HIV/AIDS issued a report on so-called "discordant" couples - couples in which one individual has HIV while the other does not.

The panel said that such couples need not use a condom provided the infected partner regularly followed antiretroviral therapy and had no genital infections.

In addition, the level of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in his or her blood had to be below detectable levels - a threshold of 40 viruses per millilitre of blood - for the six previous months at least.

In a debate just ahead of the conference, panel member Pietro Vernazza said there was "no documented case" of infection among discordant couples who fell in this category, and characterised the risk of transmission as "negligible"...

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