Research Update: Treating HIV-infected People with Antiretrovirals Protects Partners from Infection: CDC Statement

Content From: Miguel Gomez, Director,, and Senior Communications Advisor, Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPublished: May 13, 20112 min read


Yesterday, we blogged that NIH released findings from an important large-scale clinical study that found that men and women living with HIV who took oral antiretroviral medicines when their immune systems were relatively healthy, were able to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their sexual partners.

We also heard from the CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., yesterday, who noted,

"These results represent another significant step forward in HIV prevention and reinforce the importance of people everywhere knowing their HIV status and being linked to services for HIV prevention, care and treatment – all of which are key components of CDC HIV prevention strategies. They also remind us of the urgency of ensuring that testing and treatment are widely available, that ARVs are becoming an important component of HIV prevention strategies, and that prevention and treatment for HIV are inseparable.

While today's announcement provides cause for optimism that this approach may help reduce new HIV infections overall in the United States and around the world, the degree of impact at a population level will depend on many factors, including the real-world feasibility of scaling up intensive testing and care services in a broad range of settings, as well as the ability for individuals to maintain high levels of drug adherence over time.

However, HIV-positive people cannot assume they are not infectious simply because they are already on treatment medications. It is critical that individuals maintain close contact with their healthcare providers, in order to monitor viral load, and to maintain consistent treatment and care services over time."

Please read the entire statement.

And, read more about the study on NIAID’s website. For additional information about this study, see the Questions and Answers. Visit the NIAID HIV/AIDS Web portal for more information about NIAID’s HIV/AIDS research.