U=U

What is U=U?

  • Undetectable equals Untransmittable 

 A person living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART) who has an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV through sex. 

What is a viral load? 

Viral load refers to the amount of HIV in a blood sample of a person living with HIV. Generally, the higher the viral load, the more likely you are to transmit HIV.  Both "undetectable" and "viral load suppression" are extremely low measurements of HIV that are virtually the same. The terms are often used interchangeably in public health communications. 

Is there zero risk? 

Yes. You need not be constrained by fear of acquiring HIV while your sexual partner is undetectable. If you do want to stop using condoms, discuss this carefully with your partner and ensure they are also comfortable with the decision. Also keep in mind that an undetectable viral load will prevent transmission of HIV, it does not protect you or them from other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or unwanted pregnancy.

Prevention Access Campaign

Prevention Access Campaign is a health equity initiative to end the dual epidemics of HIV and HIV-related stigma by empowering people with and vulnerable to HIV with accurate and meaningful information about their social, sexual, and reproductive health.

 

U=U was launched in early 2016 by a group of people living with HIV who created a groundbreaking Consensus Statement with global experts to clear up confusion about the science of U=U. That Statement was the genesis of the U=U movement that is changing the definition of what it means to live with HIV. The movement is sharing the message to dismantle HIV stigma, improve the lives of people living with HIV, and bring us closer to ending the epidemic. 

Undetectable viral load and transmission – information for HIV-negative people

Gus Cairns's classic guide to all things U=U updated with current information.