I am the Amy Davis in this story. Some of the details are half-truths & much of the information, surrounding Kerry Steven Thomas’ original charge, is inaccurate. I know. I was there.
This a terribly flawed article that highly exaggerates the risk of HIV transmission. This journalist did not do her research. There is no significance of viral blips or latent reservoir to risk. Fauci just made his WAD statement of negligible risk. Lazy journalism is tiresome..
looks like the National Institutes of Health and other USG sources will be updating their public positions to better respect the Prevention benefits of *proper* HIV treatment:
Failure to disclose to a partner is irresponsible
and immoral.Infecting another is criminal.
Failure to disclose and failure to seek a diagnosis are best immoral to your partner and if infection results is criminal.
It’s unfortunate that an article about the science-ignorant abuses that flow from HIV criminalization should itself distort the underlying science.
This piece powerfully underestimates the Prevention benefits of successful HIV treatment, and worse, it underestimates the risk from untreated HIV+ partners…using totally ad hoc guessing.
The per-act risk of receptive anal intercourse will vary quite drastically based on several factors: the viral load of the HIV+ penetrator, the rigor and duration and lubrication/ overall kinematics of the act. The CDC’S infamous chart of “risk per act” is long debunked…perhaps the author would elaborate a cogent defense of them?
Even more insidiously, the article embraces the intentionally confused objectives of the HPTN 052 study…in an indefensible manner.
HPTN 052 ostensibly sought to investigate the benefits of early treatment…however, it has instead been widely reported as a study of the Prevention benefits of Treatment. Worse still, that reporting has badly confused the issue.
Even in THIS article, the author cites 052 thusly: “Proper treatment is estimated to reduce the HIV transmission risk by 96 percent.”
Wrong. The goal of “proper” HIV treatment worldwide is sustained viral suppression…to achieve consistently undetectable viral load. When THAT state is achieved, the risk of transmission is shown BOTH in HPTN 052, and subsequently in PARTNER, to be several decimal places beyond 99.9%.
HPTN 052 reached the “96%” figure via the inclusion of a serdiscordant couple in whom the HIV+ partner had only recently begun treatment, and had not at all yet reached the universally acknowledged goal of “proper HIV treatment”, aka sustained undetectable viral load.
I hope the author can either properly defend her article or make appropriate edits. She may even wish to revisit the issue of “blips”, which I believe are overstated here…per PARTNER.
There is no epidemiological benefit to downplaying the protective benefits of “proper” HIV treatment, regardless of anyone’s personal fears of loosening sexual mores that may result.
Good work. keep it up.
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