How Often Should I Have My Viral Load Tested
This is something you should discuss with your doctor. A basic guide to viral load testing is to have it done every 3 to 6 months. If, however, you are relying on being undetectable as your primary means of HIV prevention, you may want to consider testing your viral load more frequently. To find out more about this talk to your HIV specialist.
How Do I Explain This To A Sexual Partner
If you have sexual partners who are not living with HIV, explaining U=U to them is likely to be mutually beneficial. If you had previously relied on other means of preventing HIV transmission , you may jointly decide that these methods are no longer necessary because of U=U.
It may take some time for an HIV-negative partner to accept the U=U message and to rely on it as the sole method of preventing HIV. Some HIV-negative people may reject the message or deny its accuracy. It may be helpful to direct your partner to information resources that explain the accuracy and significance of U=U. NAM has also produced a page for people who dont have HIV to help them understand the impact of an undetectable viral load on HIV transmission.
Another option could be for your partner to hear about U=U from a healthcare worker or another reliable and trusted source.
“For as long as your viral load stays undetectable, your chance of passing on HIV to a sexual partner is zero.”
Despite sharing this information, some people may still not accept that U=U. In this kind of situation, it is important to find a balance between providing your partners with information and taking care of yourself.
Many people find it difficult to talk about sex, even with the person who is closest to them. If this is the case, you might want to discuss your concerns with someone at your HIV clinic, sexual health clinic or a support organisation. This can help you clarify your thoughts and what youd like to say.
What Does Being Hiv Undetectable Mean For You
Aurelio: When youre HIV undetectable that means the virus in your blood is so low that the lab cant detect it, and you cant transmit it to your partner.
Kneeshe: When I go and get my labs they let me know that Im still undetectable and that my CD4 count is doing well.
Raul: Being undetectable makes me a little more confident about sharing my status.
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How Is The Test Used
The HIV viral load test is used initially, along with a CD4 count, to determine the status of your HIV infection when you have been diagnosed with the disease. The viral load is then used to monitor the effectiveness of your antiretroviral treatment over time.
The HIV viral load may also be used to help determine whether the virus infecting you has become drug-resistant. If you do not respond well to treatment and the amount of virus continues to increase, then the virus may be resistant to that particular ART. Your treatment will then likely be modified.
HIV viral load tests are most useful when they are compared with results obtained from your earlier tests. They are used in combination with the CD4 count to monitor how effective ART is in suppressing your HIV.
Undetectable Viral Load And Transmission Information For People With Hiv
Having an undetectable viral load does mean that there is not enough HIV in your body fluids to pass HIV on during sex.. BHIVA says consistent use of HIV treatment to maintain an undetectable viral load is a highly effective way to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV.. The PARTNER studies did not find a single HIV transmission from an HIV-positive partner who had an undetectable viral load .. NAM has also produced a page for people who donât have HIV to help them understand the impact of an undetectable viral load on HIV transmission.. While remaining undetectable is one way you can ensure that you do not pass HIV on, your sexual partners may also have other sexual partners and it is important for them to be aware of how they could contract HIV outside of your relationship, possibly from someone who does not know that they have HIV.. If you use injection drugs and share needles or other equipment, taking HIV treatment and having an undetectable viral load greatly reduces the risk of passing HIV on, but we donât know by how much.
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What Does It Mean To Be Durably Undetectable
Taking antiretroviral therapy daily as prescribed to suppress HIV levels leads to an undetectable status. A person is considered to have a durably undetectable viral load if their viral load remains undetectable for at least six months after their first undetectable test result. It is essential to continue to take every pill every day as directed to maintain an undetectable viral load.
Does U=u Work For All Types Of Sex
Yes. The PARTNER study collected information about the different sex people had. For example, the numbers of times people had oral, vaginal or anal sex. It also asked whether the negative partner was active or passive. It included whether there was ejaculation.
PARTNER reported zero transmissions for everything.
This included sex with the highest HIV risk ie being the receptive partner for anal sex.
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What Is The Cutoff Value For An Undetectable Viral Load
An undetectable viral load will be under 40 to 75 copies in a blood sample. This means there are relatively few copies of HIV in the blood. When this happens, it is no longer possible to pass the virus on to another person during sex, according to the CDC . An undetectable amount of HIV is untransmittable.
Undetectable Viral Load Wtf Does That Mean
This is probably the most often asked question I get while doing my community and outreach work with gay and MSM next to where can I get tested? It is a word that a number of gay men are using and hearing more often when speaking with potential sexual partners as it relates to their own level of HIV identified on their last viral load test. So WTF does it mean?
Lets start with a dictionary definition for undetectable:
Now undetectable as it relates to a person living with HIV means:When the number of copies of HIV cannot be detected by standard viral load tests, an HIV-positive person is said to have an undetectable viral load. For most tests used clinically today, this means fewer than 50 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood. There are more sensitive tests available that detect less than 20 copies per ml. However, the test used in Alberta as of January 7, 2013 is the Abbott RealTime HIV-1 Assay that detects virus up to less than 40 parts per ml.
What being undetectable means is that
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What Does Undetectable = Untransmittable Mean
âUndetectableâ means that a test cannot detect the virus in the blood of a person living with HIV, although extremely small amounts of HIV are still present. Someone who takes HIV treatment and is âundetectableâ for 6 or more continuous months does not transmit the virus through sex.
Undetectable also means the virus is being well controlled by HIV meds. If a person with undetectable HIV stops their medications, the virus will return to a detectable level, which then increases the risk of transmission.
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Being Undetectable: Good News
You can live a healthier and longer life. If you have an undetectable viral load, it means that there is less HIV in your body. Being undetectable means that the virus is less able to attack your immune system cells, which means that there will be less damage to your immune system. This allows people to stay healthier and and live longer.
Undetectable = Untransmittable. People who are undetectable do not transmit HIV to other people through sex. That is the meaning of undetectable = untransmittable or U=U, a message started by Prevention Access Campaign about what it means to be undetectable. If you have been taking HIV medications for at least six months, have a consistently suppressed viral load , and continue taking your HIV medications as directed, you will not transmit HIV to others.
Treatment as Prevention . Treatment as prevention refers to taking HIV medications to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. As with U=U, people living with HIV who maintain undetectable viral loads do not transmit HIV to other people.
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Does Being Durably Undetectable Mean That The Virus Has Left My Body
Even when viral load is undetectable, HIV is still present in the body. The virus lies dormant inside a small number of cells in the body called viral reservoirs. When therapy is halted by missing doses, taking a treatment holiday or stopping treatment, the virus emerges and begins to multiply, becoming detectable in the blood again. This newly reproducing virus is infectious. It is essential to take every pill every day as directed to achieve and maintain a durably undetectable status.
What Does U=u Mean In Relation To Hiv Prevention
Have you ever heard the phrase U=U before?
U=U stands for: Undetectable = Untransmittable.
This catchphrase originated as a campaign slogan used to bring awareness about HIV transmission and to promote the use of HIV treatment plans and prevention methods.
The campaign was launched by Prevention Access in 2016 to fight HIV stigma and help people at high risk of HIV transmission receive prevention treatments. And it seems like their efforts have been successful. Since 2014, the number of people diagnosed with HIV in the United States has remained stable overall, with some numbers dropping significantly for specific demographics.
But you may be wondering, what do the words undetectable and untransmittable mean in regards to HIV?
Lets break down what U=U really means and everything that you need to know to protect yourself and others from HIV transmission.
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What Does Undetectable Equals Untransmittable Mean
U=U is the name of a public health campaign that has really taken off in the last year and is accepted and endorsed by organizations worldwide. It shares the message that people who are undetectable do not transmit HIV to other people.
This campaign promotes key medical information that is important for people living with HIV to know, but it is also an important concept that reduces HIV stigma in the community. The phrase really encompasses an idea that people who are living with HIV can be free from HIV stigma, and can live their lives more fully, with less fear, worry, and inhibition.
Does Hiv Treatment Always Work
About one in six people on their first HIV treatment regimen either never have an undetectable viral load or their treatment stops working in the first year. During the second year on treatment, the chance of your therapy ceasing to work is about one in twenty and this declines further over the next decade to about a one-in-fifty chance of failure in any one year.
So, the longer youve been on a particular HIV therapy, the less likely it is to stop working. Almost everyone who goes on to a second or third regimen reduces their viral load to an undetectable level.
If someones treatment does not result in viral load becoming undetectable, this is usually because they are having problems taking their treatment as prescribed, i.e. they dont take all their pills at the right time, without missing doses. Occasionally missing a dose of medication is unlikely to cause your viral load to become detectable again, but frequently missing doses may lead to a detectable viral load and should be avoided.
If you are having problems sticking with your treatment, talk to your doctor and they may be able to find a drug combination that suits you better.
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Hiv Positive And Undetectable: What Does It Mean
Being undetectable means that there is so little HIV in your blood that the virus cannot be detected by a standard blood test. An undetectable viral load generally means there are fewer than 40 viral copies per millilitre of blood.1
As long as you are able to stick to your treatment regimen and your viral load remains undetectable for 6 months after starting your treatments , then you cannot pass on HIV to others:
Undetectable = Untransmittable.1
HIV and the immune system
CD4 cells are white blood cells, which are an important part of your immune system as they help to fight infections.2
Normally, a CD4 cell count is around 500 to 1,500 cells per cubic millimetre of blood. Without treatment, HIV infects and destroys CD4 cells, depleting the amount a person has and weakening their immune system.2
- A CD4 counts > 500 cells indicates a fairly normal immune system and means the risk of opportunistic infections is low2
- A CD4 counts < 200 cells indicates a diagnosis of AIDS and means that there is a risk of developing serious opportunistic infections2
People with a high viral load are likely to have low CD4 counts.
Having a high viral load also increases the risk of passing HIV to others.1
Being undetectable is a great step in managing your HIV
Having an undetectable viral load level eliminates the risk of passing HIV onto others and minimises the risk of HIV-related infections and disease.1
How Do We Define Undetectable In Hiv Prevention
In HIV treatment and prevention, we oftentimes use the term undetectable as a way to measure the success of a persons HIV treatment. People who get and stay undetectable not only improve their health, but eliminate the possibility of transmitting HIV to others. This concept was recently celebrated in an important article in the Journal of the American Medical Association by authors at the National Institutes of Health.
But what does undetectable mean, in these conversations? How do we define whos undetectableand whos not?
In the simplest definition of undetectable, the amount of virus in a persons blood is so low that it cant be measured by the viral load test being used. In this sense, the dividing line between who is undetectableand who is notdepends on the lower threshold of the viral load test used. Viral load tests detect varying lower levels of virus, which means that one person could be detectable on a test with a lower threshold and undetectable on a test with a higher threshold .
Special tests used in research settings can identify virus copies as few as 1 5, but these are not FDA-cleared for routine clinical use.
This raises the question of what viral load levels to consider when were talking about being undetectable in the context of Undetectable = Untransmittable. Are all undetectable viral loads equally untransmittable?
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How Do I Talk To My Partner About Their Risk Of Acquiring Hiv
People living with HIV can involve their partners in their treatment plans. Research shows that adhering to treatment often can improve with support from loving relationships and from the community.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis , in which an HIV-negative person takes antiretroviral medication to prevent infection, can be part of the conversation. Learn more about PrEP.
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What Is Viral Suppression
Antiretroviral therapy keeps HIV from making copies of itself. When a person living with HIV begins an antiretroviral treatment regimen, their viral load drops. For almost everyone who starts taking their HIV medication daily as prescribed, viral load will drop to an undetectable level in six months or less. Continuing to take HIV medications as directed is imperative to stay undetectable.
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How Do I Know If The Blood Transfusion/transplant Im Receiving Is Safe
In most cases, its fine to assume the blood product you are receiving is safe. But if you are worried, it is your right to ask the healthcare professional whether it has been tested for HIV or not.
Blood donors are asked a set of standard questions just before donating blood to help determine if they are in good health or if they have been at risk of HIV infection in the past.
Some groups of people who are considered more statistically at risk of HIV infection are not eligible to donate blood products in some countries Ã¢ either for set time periods or for life. These groups include:
- Men who have sex with men
- Sex workers
- People who inject drugs
If you fall into one of these groups of people, and you want to donate blood, talk to your healthcare professional who can advise you on whether its safe and legal to donate blood or not.
Other activities may also require you to postpone your blood donation, such as having a tattoo or body piercing or if you are living with a certain health condition.
If you want to know more about donor eligibility, check the guidelines in your country as they are different all over the world.
What Causes Cd4 To Drop
Purpose of review: A severe decrease of CD4 T cells predisposes humans to opportunistic infections. In adults, HIV is certainly the most common cause of CD4 lymphocytopenia, but other causes, such as infections, autoimmune diseases, immunosuppressive therapy, lymphoma and idiopathic forms need to be considered.
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