Swiss statement on sexual HIV transmission was inspired by HIV exposure prosecutions.

Very interesting interview on with Dr Bernard Hirschel, of the University of Geneva, the lead author of the controversial Swiss consensus statement which said that successful treated individuals with an undetectable viral load for at least six months and no concurrent sexually transmitted infection has a close to zero risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner (who also has no STIs).

He says that one of the main reasons he and his colleagues were motivated to issue the statement was due to their frustration with Swiss courts not accepting a belief that undetectable viral load meant uninfectious as a defence during criminal HIV exposure trials.

The first[reason for the statement] is, a series of trials in Switzerland where people were accused of endangering others through sexual relations—they were HIV-positive, the partner was HIV-negative. The defense said, “well, there was little or no danger because my client was treated and he had undetectable viremia.” This defense was not admitted based on official statements saying that treatment had little influence on infectivity. And that’s just plain wrong. So there needs to be some official statement to the contrary.

The full interview, with Regan Hoffman, Editor of Poz magazine, is available in video form here, and the transcript can be found here.

I’m currently putting together an eight page article examining the statement, the global reactions (which have been wide-ranging), and the implications (which are even more wide-ranging), for the April issue of HIV Treatment Update.