Dr Sean Cummings  
London, United Kingdom

Specialties: STD/STI HIV prevention

Interests: Hepatitis C, Men's Health, HIV Prevention
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London, United Kingdom
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Reducing HIV spread

Jun 29, 2010 - 2 comments

An interesting boost to the notion that as many people as possible should be tested for HIV so that they can discuss treatment possibilities was presented at the 17th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (abstract 33).

Researchers form the San Francisco Dept of Public Health have found that increased HIV testing rates and also improved and increased uptake of the use of anti-hiv medications - (anti-retorviral drugs - or ARV's for short) has resulted in a reduction in the "community HIV viral load" on San Francisco. Viral load is the term used to describe the amount of HIV in a persons blood stream and or body fluids. The rationale behind the research is that because so many people with HIV have been correctly identified in the San Francisco area, many more have been offered treatment.

The aim of treatment with ARV's is to reduce an individual's viral load and thus his or her infectiousness. The success of the this public health initiative has resulted in a TOTAL drop of viral load in the community which in turn has benefited the community as a whole by a subsequent decline in new cases of HIV between 2004 and 2008.

This is good news as a whole and does give more credence to the drive to test and treat more people at an earlier stage. This also fits with the concept that interventions with treatment in the very early stages of new HIV disease may limit the infectivity of those persons and thus the inadvertent onward passage of HIV to others.

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If regular testing were considered normal for everybody then HIV would be in the forefront of their minds more and they would be less likely to put themselves at risk as well.  Most of us never think of HIV until we take our little trip into the twilight zone and get shocked at what we've risked.  

I didn't even know genital warts (bloody hell!) existed and what the hell was HPV?  Didn't know there was a HSV2.  What a shock all of that was!  I remember the early 80s when it seemed as though all of my gay friends were wearing PVC hot pants and shagging for Britain and we were the boring ones.  Now, the tables have turned and my gay friends wear anoraks and stay home baking and collecting eggs their chickens have laid.  In contrast, my straight friends seem to spend half their lives in fancy dress shops buying whips, masks etc and London has saunas for straight people and S&M swingers clubs and smart swingers parties are so commonplace as to be considered normal.  I have read that MSM and Sub-saharan Africans have the highest rates of HIV in the UK but I find it staggeringly hard to believe and I can't see it staying that way unless heterosexual behaviour changes.  

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by VvvWorried999, Jan 27, 2013
What is the risk if I kissed on the lips a HIV positive man while I had an open cold sore?

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