The Buenos Aires Bears clubhouse. Photo by Rex Wockner
Swiss experts say HIV+ people with no viral load cannot transmit HIV
Swiss AIDS officials have determined that if you're taking anti-HIV drugs and you always take the drugs on schedule and your HIV blood tests come back 'undetectable' for six months in a row and you don't have any other sexually transmitted diseases, it is next to impossible that you could transmit HIV during unprotected sex ( barebacking ) .
The Swiss Federal Commission on HIV/AIDS issued its stunning report Jan. 30, concluding that people with HIV who have no detectable viral load as a result of anti-retroviral treatment apparently are unable to transmit the virus.
The report said an individual becomes noninfectious if he or she has had an undetectable viral load for six months, doesn't skip any doses of HIV medication and has no other STDs.
The commission arrived at its position following an extensive review of scientific literature, after prolonged discussions, and upon recommendation of its Subcomission on Clinical and Therapeutic Aspects.
In an English summary of its report, the agency said: 'During effective ART [ anti-retroviral therapy ] , free virus is absent from blood and genital secretions. Epidemiologic and biologic data indicate that during such treatment, there is no relevant risk of transmission. Residual risk cannot be scientifically excluded, but is, in the judgment of the commission, negligibly small.
'The commission realizes that medical and biologic data available today do not permit proof that HIV infection during effective ART is impossible, because the non-occurrence of an improbable event cannot be proven. If no transmission events were observed among 100 couples followed for two years, for instance, there might still be some such events if 10,000 couples are followed for 10 years.
'The situation is analogous to 1986, when the statement 'HIV cannot be transmitted by kissing' was publicized,' the commission said. 'This statement cannot be proven, but after 20 years' experience its accuracy appears highly plausible.
'Concerning the statement, 'An HIV-infected person on anti-retroviral therapy with completely suppressed viremia ... cannot propagate HIV through sexual contact,' however, the evidence is much better than what was available in 1986 regarding kissing.'
Police close Buenos Aires bear club
City inspectors and federal police shut down the Buenos Aires Bears clubhouse Jan. 23.
The officials claimed they were verbally instructed by higher-ups to close the building because of a pre-existing closure order that had resulted from a noise complaint.
But a spokesman for the club, Marcelo Surano, said the noise complaint had been resolved and the facility has newer paperwork authorizing its operation.
The raiding officers had no documents to back up their claims, so the bears refused to let them into the building. But the bears left nonetheless, and the officers then slapped a 'closed' notice on the entrance.
'Under this city government, it seems that the police feel protected in having discriminatory attitudes toward gays and lesbians,' María Rachid, president of the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans ( FALGBT ) , told the newspaper Página/12.
Rachid said FALGBT will file a complaint with federal Justice officials over the federal police's attempt 'to enter a private place without a legitimate official order.'
'This is a violation of human rights,' she said.
The group also will send a letter to Mayor Mauricio Macri denouncing the city inspectors' 'discriminatory attitudes.'
—Assistance: Bill Kelley