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Undetectable HIV viral load is Untransmittable

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Undetectable = Untransmittable

There is increasing evidence confirming that living with HIV and undergoing regular treatment has a, “no chance”, of virus transmission. 


How can you be HIV+ yet be Undetectable?

This occurs when an HIV+ person is on an Antiretroviral drug (ARVs) and their viral load(the amount of HIV in their body) is low. The viral load is so low it becomes undetectable.

An undetectable viral load does not mean a person is cured of HIV.

It does mean that the virus has stopped replicating. 

A person with an undetectable viral load has no risk of passing on HIV during sex. By the HIV not multiplying, it is also reducing its harm to the body of the carrier. As long as they remain on their ARV treatment.


The Evidence

A group of Australian researchers conducted a trial on the sex lives of couples. Each couple had one person already infected with the HIV virus.  Throughout the trial, couples had to undergo regular tests for possible transmission. The couples participating reported having sex without condoms.


“…not a single linked HIV infection in these couples.” – Andrew Grulich. 


Undetectable = UntransmittableThe results of these studies were shared during the 9th International AIDS Conference on HIV Science in Paris, July 2017, adding credibility to previous studies done in 2011 and 2016 which also found that HIV treatment was preventing new infections. The World Health Organization now recommends treatment as a preventable measure. 


ARV Protects 

Anal sex is known to be extremely risky, 10 times higher chance of transmission via anal sex compared to vaginal sex, further evidence of the effectiveness of the treatment in gay men. Swaziland on record is the country with the highest HIV rate in the world has seen new infections halved since 2011 due to the provision of treatment.


Condom Usage

Although ARV treatment reduces the chance of transmission of HIV, it does not protect couples from other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as Syphilis, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Reported cases in 2015 showed that these STIs were on an increase. 

It is obviously still recommended that you consult with your doctor to discuss your decision not to use condoms and going onto PrEP.


“Like you can’t tell if someone is HIV positive by looking at them, the only way to know if they have an undetectable viral load is to talk to them.”



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