Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Should the Swiss Stick to Army Knives and Chocolate?

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Should the Swiss Stick to Army Knives and Chocolate?

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

WHEN A SWISS REPORT ANNOUNCED this February that some HIV-positive men could have unprotected sex without infecting their partners, medical experts worldwide responded with outrage.

The report, released by the Swiss Federal AIDS Commission, says that couples with one HIV-positive partner do not need to use condoms to prevent transmission if the HIV-positive person does not have another sexually transmitted disease, consistently takes antiretroviral drugs, and has suppressed the virus in his blood for at least six months. The country's four foremost HIV experts published their opinion in the Bulletin of Swiss Medicine and based their analysis on four separate studies--of heterosexual couples.

That's part of the problem, says Roger Pebody, treatment adviser for the United Kingdom's Terrence Higgins Trust, one of the largest HIV charities in Europe. "There are still gaps in the scientific evidence," especially when it comes to gay couples, he cautions. By looking at studies of straight couples, explains Pebody, the Swiss researchers didn't "seem to take into account anal sex being riskier for HIV than vaginal sex. …

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