Background Numerous prospective studies have demonstrated that HIV transmission is greatly reduced in heterosexual HIV serodiscordant couples when the HIV-positive partner (HPP) is receiving combination anti-retroviral therapy (cART) with undetectable viral load (UVL). Comparable data in homosexual male serodiscordant couples (HM-SDC) are extremely limited. We report a pre-specified interim analysis of the relationship between UVL and HIV transmission in the Opposites Attract observational cohort study of HM-SDC in Australia, Bangkok and Rio de Janeiro.
Methods HM-SDC reporting regular anal intercourse with each other were recruited through clinical sites. Detailed information on sexual risk behaviours was collected at each visit from the HIV-negative partner (HNP). HNPs were tested at baseline and follow-up for HIV antibodies and STIs (sexually transmitted infections), and HPPs for HIV viral load and STIs. Incidence rates were calculated per couple-year of follow-up (CYFU) using person-year methods, and stratified by whether different forms of condomless anal intercourse (CLAI) were reported. UVL was defined as <200 copies/mL. One-sided confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using the exact Poisson method. Linked HIV transmission in couples was defined by phylogenetic analysis.
Results By December 2014, 234 HM-SDC were enrolled: 135 from Australia, 52 from Bangkok and 47 from Rio de Janeiro. There were a total of 150.0 CYFU in 152 couples with at least one follow-up visit of whom 65 (42.8%) were in a non-monogamous relationship. At baseline, 84.2% of HPPs were on cART and in total 82.9% had UVL. STI prevalence was 11.2% in HPPs and 6.6% in HNPs. There were 90.8 CYFU in periods where CLAI was reported with a total of 5,905 acts of CLAI in 88 couples. There were no linked HIV transmissions. The upper limit of the 95% CI of the transmission rate was 4.06/100 CYFU for periods in which CLAI was reported, and 6.46/100 CYFU for periods in which receptive CLAI was reported.
Conclusions There were no linked HIV transmissions in 150 CYFU in these HM-SDC, despite close to 6,000 acts of CLAI. The upper confidence limit of the transmission rate during follow-up in periods during which CLAI was occurring was 4.06/100 CYFU. These data add to emerging evidence that the rate of HIV transmission in HM-SDC is very low when the HIV-positive partner is on ART. Further follow-up of a larger sample size is required to accurately delineate any residual risk.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.