The fourth edition of Hibic (Milestones in Basic and Clinical Research on HIV / AIDS) organized by Gilead Sciences, has brought together more than 400 national and international HIV experts throughout this weekend in Madrid, to analyze the problems and Most relevant situations published in 2019 on HIV, in terms of basic research, epidemiology and Public Health and clinical science.
Throughout the congress, three works were selected aimed at knowing how to control this infection to finally stop the epidemic. The first one was presented by Dr. Alison Rodger, from University College London, who published the Partner studies. This study explains how a person with undetectable viral load does not transmit the virus either in relationships of men who have sex with men or between heterosexual men and women. It is a very large study that will remain historical and shows that, regardless of sexual practice or whether there are sexually transmitted diseases or not, the transmission is zero. However, and according to the antiretroviral data sheets, there may be a residual possibility of transmission, yet to be demonstrated.
Secondly, Dr. Catriona Waitt, from the University of Liverpool, presented an investigation into the absence of transmission of the virus between mothers and children through breast milk in women with undetectable viral load. At present, it is a practice that is not recommended since, although HIV is transmitted during pregnancy or delivery, there is not enough scientific evidence regarding breastfeeding.
The part coordinated by Ramón Arribas, of the University Hospital of La Paz in Madrid, focused on the relationship between pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). “There is great concern about whether PrEP’s strategy will lead to an increase in other Sexually Transmitted Infections due to reduced condom use in risky sexual relationships.”
As invited specialists on the subject, three experts with experience in the field of Australia, a model country in terms of its strategy on HIV epidemiological control, were invited. The first of these shows “an increase in the incidence of STIs in those who start PrEP. However, the authors consider that having a user in a prophylaxis program is an opportunity to boost prevention and make an early diagnosis of STIs. Do not forget that most sexually transmitted infections are curable while HIV is not. Nor should we forget that these infections are already increasing in Spain before the implementation of PrEP, ”said Dr. Arribas.