September 20, 2017 | Health Matters

HIV: does "undetectable" mean "untransmittable?"

Someone you know has HIV. He has been receiving medical treatment and his viral load is undetectable. So what are the risks of him transmitting the virus?


More and more health experts and organizations are endorsing the Undetectable Equals Untransmittable Consensus Statement (U=U), which says that that an individual with an undetectable viral load through treatment cannot transmit the virus to a sexual partner.

Three recent, well-reputed studies that followed tens of thousands of sex acts found not a single case of HIV being transmitted from someone with an undetectable viral load to someone who was HIV negative. 

Many experts are now using the term “zero chance” to describe the risk of transmission when a person’s viral load is undetectable.

For those living with HIV, this is a revolutionary development that can have a very positive effect on one's mental and emotional health as it diminishes HIV stigma. 

Now all we need is for everyone to know their status and to start treatment if needed.

When Is There Zero Risk of Transmitting HIV? [Advocate]

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