My Latest Lab Report Says < 20 Am I Still Undetectable
A full range of campaign posters are freely available for download below to help spread the word that Undetectable = Uninfectious. Alternatively if you would like us to send your business or organisation a stock of printed A3 posters along with other information leaflets and booklets, you can order them here.
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.
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.
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What Is An Undetectable Viral Load
- Taking antiretroviral treatment reduces the amount of HIV in your body.
- With proper adherence, ART can reduce HIV to such low levels that the virus can no longer be detected in normal blood tests. This is called having an undetectable viral load.
- People with undetectable viral loads cant pass HIV on through sex.
- To know that youre undetectable, you must have your viral load monitored regularly.
- Remember your viral load can change. If you stop taking your treatment properly your viral load will go up again.
What Is The Viral Load Test
A viral load test measures the amount of HIV in your blood. A sample of blood is sent to a laboratory, where the number of copies of a specific part of the virus called RNA, or ribonucleic acid, is measured. A viral load test result is given as the number of copies/millilitre of blood. The lower the number, the less virus there is in the blood. Numbers can range from over 1,000,000 copies/ml to undetectable.
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Hiv Undetectable = Untransmittable Fact Sheet
Medicines to treat HIV can eliminate the risk of sexual transmission. In August 2016, the New York City Health Department agreed with other public health and medical organizations that people with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load for at least six months do not transmit HIV through sex. In September 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health agreed with this finding, which is known as “Undetectable = Untransmittable,” or “U = U“.
Thats Good News For All
Undetectable viral load is game-changing news for both poz and neg guys. If youre HIV poz, undetectable comes with amazing health benefits as well as the assurance that you are keeping the guys you play with safe.
And if youre neg, having sex with a poz guy whos undetectable can give you the confidence that you wont get HIV. UVL puts safety first for everyone.
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Viral Load And Pregnancy
Taking antiretroviral medications during pregnancy and delivery can greatly reduce the risk of passing HIV on to a child. Having an undetectable viral load is the goal during pregnancy.
Women can take HIV medications safely during pregnancy, but they should talk to a healthcare provider about specific regimens.
If an HIV-positive woman is already taking antiretroviral medications, pregnancy may affect how the body processes her medication. Certain changes in treatment might be needed.
What Does It Mean To Be Undetectable
HIV medication works by reducing the amount of the virus in the blood to undetectable levels. This means the levels of HIV are so low that the virus cannot be passed on. This is called having an undetectable viral load or being undetectable.
It can take up to six months for some people to become undetectable from when they start treatment.
PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2 studies provide robust evidence for gay couples and heterosexual couples that the risk of HIV transmission with suppressive ART is effectively zero, which supports the message of the international campaign, U=U .
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No Risk Of Hiv Transmission Really
So is it true that if a HIV positive partner is on treatment and has a UVL sustained , then there is no risk of HIV transmission?
In 2016, the PARTNER study from Europe found that the chance of HIV transmission where one partner had a UVL is negligible. In fact, there were zero partner-transmissions recorded in the study despite approximately 22,000 acts of condomless sex by gay couples. Additionally, PARTNER2 the extension study of PARTNER that aimed to gather data pertaining to mixed-HIV-status gay male couples found that after an additional 54,000 acts of condomless sex there were zero transmissions.
This is also supported by a large international study, led by the Kirby Institute here in Australia, the Opposites Attract study, which focused solely on gay and other men who have sex men from Australia, Brazil and Thailand, confirmed that HIV positive men who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load do not transmit the virus to their partners.
So, between these two studies there has was a combined total of over 89,000 acts of condomless sex occurred between gay couples with zero transmissions!
How Does Being Durably Undetectable Affect My Risk Of Transmitting Hiv To A Sexual Partner
People living with HIV who take antiretroviral medications daily as prescribed and who achieve and then maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.
Three large multinational research studies involving couples in which one partner was living with HIV and the other was notHPTN 052, PARTNER and Opposites Attractobserved no HIV transmission to the HIV-negative partner while the partner with HIV had a durably undetectable viral load. These studies followed approximately 3,000 male-female and male-male couples over many years while they did not use condoms. Over the course of the PARTNER and Opposites Attract studies, couples reported engaging in more than 74,000 condomless episodes of vaginal or anal intercourse.
Learn more about HIV treatment as prevention.
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I Am Hiv Negative My Partner Has Been Undetectable For Over 6 Months And Now We Want To Have A Baby Why Does Our Doctor Say I Should Take Prep
The research on HIV transmission risk in couples trying to conceive when the HIV-positive partner is durably virally suppressed is still limited. If you are HIV negative and are trying to get pregnant with an HIV-positive partner’s sperm, it is generally recommended that you be on PrEP, regardless of your partner’s viral load. This is, however, a clinical judgment and a decision you and your doctor should make considering what is best for you, your partner, and your future child.
How Does Hiv Treatment Prevent Hiv Transmission
Antiretroviral medicines are very effective at controlling HIV. They do not cure HIV infection or remove the virus from the body, but if taken every day, as prescribed, HIV medicines stop the virus from multiplying. This prevents the virus from damaging the immune system and stops sexual transmission to others.
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What The Results Mean
A high viral load is generally considered about 100,000 copies, but you could have 1 million or more. The virus is at work making copies of itself, and the disease may progress quickly.
A lower HIV viral load is below 10,000 copies. The virus probably isn’t actively reproducing as fast, and damage to your immune system may be slowed, but this is not optimal.
A viral load that can’t be detected — less than 20 copies — is always the goal of HIV treatment. This doesn’t mean you’re cured. Unfortunately, the virus is still able to survive in various cells in the body. But maintaining an undetectable viral load is compatible with a normal, or near-normal life span. Continuing to take your medicine as prescribed to keep the virus undetectable is very important.
When your HIV viral load is undetectable, there is little to no risk of infecting others, but most doctors still advise using condoms to prevent acquiring other strains of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Viral Load And Hiv Transmission
A low viral load means a person is less likely to transmit HIV. But its important to note that the viral load test only measures the amount of HIV thats in the blood. An undetectable viral load doesnt mean HIV isnt present in the body.
HIV-positive people may want to consider precautions to lower the risk of HIV transmission and to reduce the transmission of other sexually transmitted infections .
Using condoms correctly and consistently when having sex is an effective STI prevention method. Check out this guide to using condoms.
Its also possible to transmit HIV to partners by sharing needles. Its never safe to share needles.
HIV-positive people may also want to consider having an open and honest discussion with their partner. They can ask their healthcare providers to explain viral load and the risks of HIV transmission.
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Does U=u Apply To The Non
This page is about HIV transmission during sex.
But an undetectable viral load is also crucial for conception, pregnancy and birth. If you maintain an undetectable viral load during pregnancy, the risk of HIV being passed on to your baby is just 0.1%, or one in a thousand.
During breastfeeding, an undetectable viral load greatly reduces the risk of passing HIV on, although it does not completely eliminate this possibility. In the UK and other countries where clean water and sterilising equipment are available, bottle feeding with formula milk is the safest way to feed your baby.
If you use injection drugs and or other equipment, taking HIV treatment and having an undetectable viral load greatly reduces the risk of passing HIV on, but we dont know by how much.
How Do We Know That Undetectable = Untransmittable
Three recent studies — HPTN 052, PARTNER and Opposites Attract — followed male couples and heterosexual couples in which one partner was HIV-positive and the other HIV-negative. During these studies, not one HIV-positive person who was taking antiretroviral medicines and was virally suppressed passed HIV to their negative partner. In the PARTNER and Opposites Attract studies, male couples had anal sex without condoms more than 34,000 times and heterosexual couples had vaginal or anal sex without condoms more than 36,000 times without a virally suppressed partner ever passing HIV to the negative partner. This is strong evidence that people do not sexually transmit HIV if they have an undetectable viral load.
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Why Is Viral Load Significant
For the past 20 years, evidence has been building up to show that the likelihood of passing on HIV is linked to the amount of the virus in the blood.
The landmark PARTNER 1 study looked at over 58,000 instances of sex without a condom, where one partner was HIV positive and one was HIV negative. There were zero cases of HIV transmission in couples where the HIV positive partner was on effective treatment .
The statistical certainty of the PARTNER 1 study was slightly lower for receptive anal sex with ejaculation than it was for vaginal sex though. The PARTNER 2 study , which looked only at instances of condomless anal sex, showed zero transmissions for both same-sex male couples and heterosexual couples.
With the results of both those studies, scientists have concluded that the chance of any HIV-positive person with an undetectable viral load transmitting the virus to a sexual partner is scientifically equivalent to zero.
Combined studies PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2, with 2017s Opposites Attract study, together make up about 126,000 occasions of condomless sex between serodiscordant partners, with no transmissions.
This gives us the robust evidence to say, with confidence, that people on effective HIV treatment cant pass on the virus.
Studies Prove Hiv Therapy Can Erase The Risk Of Infecting Others
Ever since the human immunodeficiency virus was first discovered in 1983, scientists have worked ceaselessly to find ways to prevent the further spread of the disease. Some of the interventions, like condoms, are effective but far from foolproof. Others, like pre-exposure prophylaxis , are over 90% effective but have been poorly embraced by many high-risk groups, including African Americans. It was only in 2019 that scientists finally revealed the one intervention that can effectively reduce the risk of HIV to zero: an undetectable viral load.
The strategy, referred to by public health officials as “Undetectable = Untransmittable” , is based on evidence that antiretroviral therapy in people with HIV can altogether prevent infection if the viral load is fully suppressed.
According to research, a person with HIV cannot infect others if there is no circulating virus in semen, blood, or other bodily fluids.
It is a strategy that had been long debated prior to the release of the PARTNER 2 study 2019 and the earlier PARTNER 1 study in 2016. The landmark studies, which involved 1,570 gay and heterosexual serodiscordant couples provided what health officials declared was the first sure-fire way to prevent transmission even when condoms were not used.
Despite the definitive results, there are some limitations to the U=U strategy, namely the low rate of undetectable viral loads among Americans living with HIV.
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When To Get A Test
Right after you’re diagnosed, you should get a viral load test for a “baseline measurement.” That gives your doctor something to compare future test results to.
When you start or change medicine, a test about 4 weeks afterwards helps your doctor decide how well it’s working. An effective drug combination, taken as prescribed, can often drop the HIV viral load to one-tenth of what it was within a month. The viral load is generally undetectable by 3 months, nearly always by 6 months.
After that, you should get a test as often as your doctor recommends to see how your medications are controlling the virus. If your HIV seems to be under control, you can probably be tested less frequently.
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.
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.
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What Does Undetectable Mean
Your viral load test shows how much HIV there is in a small sample of your blood. With effective HIV treatment, your viral load will start to decrease over time. When your viral load is below 200 copies/ml, you may get viral load test results back, saying undetectable. This means the amount of virus in your sample was too little to be measured by the tests.
Depending on where you live and the test used, your results may be reported as < 200, < 50, target not detected, ND, zero, below the undetectable limit or negative. All of these terms mean your viral load is undetectable.
Undetectable viral load does not mean you are cured, or you can stop taking your HIV medication. There is still HIV in your body, but there is very little virus in your bloodstream and body fluids.
Undetectable viral load shows that HIV treatment is working. People who have an undetectable viral load are unlikely to get ill due to HIV, have better long-term health and longer life expectancy than those who dont.
Studies show undetectable viral load means zero risk of HIV transmission between sexual partners. With very little to no HIV in body fluids, people with HIV who have sustained an undetectable viral load for at least six months cannot pass HIV to their partners, even with no condom use.