People on effective HIV treatment cannot pass on HIV (U equals U)

We now know that HIV positive people on effective treatment cannot pass on their HIV. This is widely known as U=U (undetectable equals untransmittable).

When someone starts HIV treatment the amount of HIV in their blood falls until it becomes undetectable. Undetectable means that the level of HIV in a person’s blood is so low that it doesn’t show up on an HIV viral load blood test. When a person is undetectable, HIV can still be in the HIV is still in their body, but the amount is so low that HIV cannot be passed to others through sex. The HIV is untransmittable.

Several studies have shown the same thing. Experts from around the world agree. You can find their consensus statement here.

The PARTNER2 study has been following almost 1,000 gay couples with one partner who is HIV-negative and the other partner who has HIV and has undetectable virus whilst on treatment. The study monitored them having condomless anal sex over 70,000 times. No one who was undetectable passed on their virus.

That’s why HIV treatment is helping us end HIV in London. To stop HIV, it is important that people test regularly and start treatment as soon as possible, if they test positive.

We’ve also got a short video on U = U for trans-folk:

This message from our friends at Gay Men Fighting AIDS (GMFA) sums it up perfectly.