New antiretroviral drugs can reduce the viral load in the blood and semen of HIV-positive individuals more quickly than older treatments, new research shows.
In most cases of HIV infection, the virus is transmitted sexually through seminal fluid. While antiretroviral agents usually suppress the virus in the blood to undetectable levels within six months, researchers say HIV remains detectable in semen in up to 25 percent of patients after that time.
Researchers at Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute in Spain have evaluated the time it takes a new antiretroviral drug, called Dolutegravir, to dampen the virus in semen.
Known as an integrase inhibitor, Dolutegravir suppressed the viral load in seminal fluid to virtually undetectable levels more quickly than older antiretroviral drugs, including in patients for whom the process took longer.
The findings are published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
According to experts, more than 2 million people contracted the virus that causes AIDS in 2015.
The Spanish researchers said Dolutegravir has the potential to reduce the chances of sexual transmission of HIV and it is now recommended as a first-line treatment, as part of a drug cocktail, in HIV positive patients.