HIV Treatment as Prevention
If you’re HIV-positive, or involved with someone who is, there’s really great news. Read this to figure out what makes U=U such a game changer:
What is U = U?
If an HIV-positive person takes anti-HIV drugs (anti-retroviral therapy) they can achieve viral suppression, which is defined as 200 copies/ml or undetectable levels.
People who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus.
That means that HIV treatment is also effective for HIV prevention. But the HIV-positive person must continue to take their HIV medications every day, as prescribed, in order to keep the virus at undetectable levels. And of course treatment as prevention doesn’t take the place of other ways of preventing HIV infection, such as condom use and PrEP.
What does it mean to be “undetectable”?
the amount of HIV
Having an undetectable viral load, or being virally suppressed, is good for an HIV-positive person’s overall health. It protects the immune system which is the key to fighting off other illnesses and staying healthy. It also greatly reduces the chance of transmitting the virus to others through sex or drug use.
What is viral load?
in your blood
tells how much HIV
is in the blood:
Generally speaking, when someone has recently been infected with HIV, there is a lot of the virus in their bloodstream. This means they are very likely to infect people they have sex with, if those people aren’t using other types of protection. The goal of HIV treatment is to reduce viral load to very low or undetectable levels.
Can an HIV-negative person get infected by someone who is HIV positive but “undetectable”?
sex with more than just that person
can protect you
all the time,
no matter who you’re with
Ultimately, it’s up to you to protect yourself and determine what types of prevention will work for you. And, of course, anti-retroviral therapy doesn’t take the place of other other types of prevention options such as condom use and PrEP.