Courtney Act reveals she had relationship with HIV-positive boyfriend
Courtney Act has revealed that she had a relationship with a HIV positive man who didn’t pass the virus on – because he had an undetectable viral load.
The Celebrity Big Brother winner and former RuPaul’s Drag Race star opened up about the issue as part of a New Zealand AIDS Foundation campaign.
She explained: “An ex-boyfriend of mine is living with HIV.
“He has an undetectable viral load so I know first-hand how this can affect people in a serodiscordant couple – which is where one partner is HIV-negative and one is HIV-positive.
“It was great to know he could have much better health in the long-run and that scientific evidence shows he was unable to pass on HIV on to me, even without condoms.
“We live in a fear-based world where HIV stigma can prevail, but armed with science and facts I was able to break down the stigma in my own mind and be in a happy and healthy relationship with my partner.”
“For people living with HIV, the knowledge that undetectable equals untransmittable is huge news, not only as a means of preventing transmission, but in breaking down the stigma that many people still experience.”
Studies have shown that people on effective HIV treatment who have an extremely low viral load are incapable of infecting others.
The New Zealand AIDS Foundation explains: “When copies of HIV cannot be detected by standard viral load tests, a person living with HIV is said to have an ‘undetectable viral load.’
“Most people diagnosed with HIV will be able to achieve an undetectable viral load. Chances increase with an early diagnosis, which is why regular testing for HIV is important.
“The main benefit of an undetectable viral load is better quality of life and long-term health outcomes for people living with HIV.”
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It adds: “Research of gay and bisexual men with an undetectable viral load and their HIV-negative partners in the Opposites Attract Study reported no cases of HIV transmission in over 12,000 reported acts of anal intercourse where neither condoms or PrEP (the daily HIV prevention pill) were used.
“On top of this, top line results of the PARTNER trial showed zero HIV transmissions in 22,000 occasions of sex between gay male couples where the HIV infected partner had an undetectable viral load.”
However it adds: “While having an undetectable viral load means there is no risk of HIV transmission, it will not protect from acquisition or transmission of other STIs like syphilis or gonorrhoea. Because of this, NZAF recommends keeping condoms in the mix with casual partners, as well as having a regular sexual health check-up.”