‘Undetectable’ refers to the amount of virus in a positive guy’s blood. Being ‘undetectable’, doesn’t equal negative; however for HIV positive men on treatment and with an undetectable viral load, there is no risk of HIV transmission. The PARTNER study shows that the chances of HIV transmission are negligible. There have been no transmissions recorded in this study despite approximately 50,000 acts of condomless sex.
Also, the initial results from the Opposites Attract study from the Kirby Institute at UNSW, analysing HIV transmission risk among serodiscordant couples (where one is HIV negative and one is HIV positive) suggest that HIV positive men who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load are not transmitting the virus to their partners.
According to the START study early initiation of treatment has significant health benefits for you and it will help keep your partner(s) safe. Today, treatment is much easier to take, has a much lower risk of side effects and is much more effective at controlling HIV while keeping your immune system healthy. Treatment also greatly reduces the risk of developing health conditions associated with HIV.
There is an overwhelming consensus that having and maintaining an undetectable viral load is a safe and effective HIV prevention strategy.
Today more than ever, we know that we can end HIV by 2020 if we test more, treat early and continue to stay safe.