Greg Louganis is an American hero. The amazing Olympic diver triumphed in both the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.
The same year as his second win, he was tragically diagnosed with HIV.
Since then, he’s been a gallant advocate for those with the malady, and he’s admirably worked to combat the stigma of life with an auto-immune disorder.
Whereas the sports champion’s teamed with organizations to stop the spread of the disease through safe sex, a new group in New Zealand’s hoping to sock it to stigma a very different way: by taking infected patients and sloshing around their bodily fluids.
They want you to know Greg’s not the only fine swimmer with HIV — there are millions, billions, more than trillions more: Let’s not forget — sperm are people, too.
From the Daily Mail:
The world’s first sperm bank has launched for HIV-positive people in an effort to reduce the disease stigma.
Sperm Positive has begun with three male donors from across New Zealand who are living with HIV but cannot pass the virus on.
The participants do have HIV, but only at extremely low levels:
Their medication ensures they have an undetectable viral load, meaning the amount of virus in their blood is low.
Although it doesn’t mean the patient is cured, there is no possibility they can transmit the virus to a sexual partner or child.
So is HIV actually present in their life-giving liquids?
Yes, according to PreventionAccess.org; but it’s impotent:
An undetectable viral load is typically under 40 copies/ml depending on the diagnostic tests. However, studies show a person living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART) with a viral load of 200 copies/ml or less also cannot sexually transmit HIV. This is called being “virally suppressed.” For the purposes of the U=U campaign and any Prevention Access Campaign materials, the term “undetectable” is used synonymously with the term “virally suppressed,” meaning a person living with HIV with a viral load of less than 200 copies/ml cannot transmit HIV.
In 2009, the National AIDS Treatment Advocacy Project did relay the following:
Studies at [Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections Montreal, Canada] report finding HIV in semen despite undetectable HIV in blood. HIV in semen may be infectious, in one semen sample with the highest HIV levels they examined it and found it to be contagious. Study authors say there is a risk for transmission, even if small, and public health messages should consider these findings.
But then there’s this from AIDSMap.com:
There is now overwhelming evidence that people with an undetectable viral load when taking [combination antiretroviral therapy] cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners. Undetectable = Untransmittable has been widely endorsed and is now an important component of HIV prevention strategies.
The Mail says as much, too:
The chance of any HIV-positive person with an undetectable viral load transmitting the virus to a sexual partner is scientifically equivalent to zero, scientists have confirmed.
Draw your own conclusions; Sperm Positive is just trying to spread awareness with destigmatised prostatic fluid from infected men. As the website proclaims, “They have so much to give.”
SP doesn’t actually partake in the baby-making; but, as noted by the BBC, if you’d like to connect with an HIV donor, they’ll try to assist:
Sperm Positive is an awareness campaign and is not operating as an actual fertility clinic, but said it could connect people with one if they wanted to have a baby using a donor’s sperm.
The guys are good to go. In fact, here’s one candidate’s online description:
“I’m a thoughtful, mindful person. I have a slim, fit build, with light brown skin and dark brown eyes. I think being a parent is one of the greatest things that can ever happen to somebody, and would be blessed to have the opportunity to help someone.”
Damien Rule-Neal — one of the first men to contribute — discovered he’d contracted HIV in 1999 but thankfully received a diagnosis of Undetectable after beginning treatment two years later.
He wants to help educate the public on the significance of a Safe status:
“I have many friends who are also living with HIV who’ve gone on to have children. Being able to help others on their journey is so rewarding, but I also want to show the world that life doesn’t stop post-diagnosis and help to remove the stigma.”
Good goin’. HIV is, of course, something that affects the lives of people from all walks — 38 million worldwide, in fact.
Sperm Positive’s here to help, and they’re always up front with anyone interested in their semen:
The online sperm bank said it will be made clear to people looking for a donor that they have HIV but are on effective treatment and so cannot pass the virus on.
Sounds like a Perfect 10:
See 3 more pieces from me:
Find all my RedState work here.
Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.