What’s new in HIV Prevention

What’s new in HIV Prevention

Key milestones in the global response to HIV include  progress on a vaccine; an implantable form of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP); and improving  HIV prevention and treatment interventions.

Development of an HIV vaccine remains key to ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  The International Aids Society (IAS) conference held in 2019 announced several human trials underway in various parts of the world.

PrEP is a medication taken by people who are not infected with the HIV virus but are at high risk for becoming infected.  An implantable form eliminates the need for daily compliance.  PrEP is most effective combined with consistent condom use.

One exciting prevention message is U=U, meaning “Undetectable = Untransmissable”.   If an HIV+ person’s viral load (amount of HIV virus in the body) is not detectable, that person cannot transmit the HIV virus.  The drug ART suppresses viral load.

Extensive research has shown that when used consistently and correctly, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV.  A new condom must be used correctly with every sex act to keep from slipping off or breaking.  

All condoms are not effective! Latex condoms are highly effective; however, lambskin condoms will NOT protect from HIV because the virus can slip through lambskin.   Condoms with the spermicide Nonoxynol-9 (N9) are NOT recommended because N9 irritates rectal and vaginal walls, which increases the chance of HIV infection.

Using lubricants with condoms reduces friction and helps keep the condom from breaking; however, water-based lubricants should be used instead of oil-based. Oil-based lubricants like petroleum jelly, hand lotion, or cooking oil can make condoms less effective.

Recent studies show that circumcision does NOT protect women from contracting HIV from male partners; however, circumcision does reduce the risk for transmitting the virus from HIV+ women to men during heterosexual vaginal sex.

AA Ross Family Counseling has a 3-hr board approved CEU course that covers an overview of and latest information about HIV-AIDS.