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CDC Researchers Publish Estimate of Effectiveness of Condom Use for Gay Men

A paper published this month in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes finally makes publicly available a study-- originally reported nearly 2 years ago from the 2013 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections but until now unobtainable even as an abstract -- which gives an estimate for the effectiveness of 100% condom use as the strategy of choice for the prevention of HIV infection among gay men. The CDC researchers estimate that condoms used consistently stop 7 out of 10 HIV infections acquired through anal sex between men.

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Semen May Enhance HIV Infectivity and Impair Microbicide Effectiveness

A component in semen appears to increase the likelihood of sexual transmission of HIV, and furthermore may enable the virus to over-power topical microbicides designed to prevent infection, according to a study published in the November 12 edition of Science Translational Medicine. This may be one of the factors explaining why drugs that block HIV infection in laboratory experiments have not worked in real-world settings, the researchers suggested.

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Is HIV Transmission Risk Really Near Zero If HIV+ Heterosexual Partners Are on ART?

Serodiscordant heterosexual couples in which the positive partner has been on combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) for more than 6 months may have an HIV transmission risk as high as 13 per 100,000 sex acts -- but the risk could also be zero -- according to an estimate based on a systematic review described in the April 9 online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

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New Studies Offer More Insight on HIV Sexual Transmission and Prevention

A new estimate puts the likelihood of HIV transmission via receptive anal sex at 138 per 10,000 acts, but looking at probabilities over a longer period provides a better understanding of risk than per-act probabilities, according to a pair of studies in the May 6 advance online edition of AIDS. Mathematical models showed that combining prevention methods -- especially those that include antiretroviral treatment-as-prevention or PrEP -- can greatly reduce the risk of transmission.

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HIV Viral Load in Semen Can Vary Over a Short Time in Men on Antiretroviral Therapy

Some men on antiretroviral therapy (ART) who have undetectable blood viral load can still sometimes have detectable HIV in their semen, and levels can fluctuate even within a very short time period, according to a study published in the March 3 edition of PLoS ONE. The study also showed that detectable HIV in semen appears more likely among men taking protease inhibitors.

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