HIV Undetectable = Untransmittable
Hundreds of organizations, including HIV Community Link, have endorsed the ‘Undetectable Equals Untransmittable’ (U=U) Consensus Statement issued by the Prevention Access Campaign. It states that people living with HIV can feel confident that if they have an undetectable viral load and take their medications as prescribed, they will not pass on HIV to sexual partners (Undetectable = Untransmittable U=U).
Endorsements from some of the most important organizations:
According to UNAIDS, “twenty years of evidence demonstrates that HIV treatment is highly effective in reducing the transmission of HIV. People living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy who have an undetectable level of HIV in their blood have a negligible risk of transmitting HIV sexually.” More here.
Health Canada endorsed U=U in 2018: ”[…] the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, officially endorsed the Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) campaign that promotes new scientific evidence that indicates that when an individual is being treated for HIV and maintains a suppressed viral load, there is effectively no risk of sexual transmission. Canada is the first government to sign on to this global campaign that will directly improve the lives of people living with HIV and reduce stigma.” Read the full statement here.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): “Across three different studies, including thousands of couples and many thousand acts of sex without a condom or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), no HIV transmissions to an HIV-negative partner were observed when the HIV-positive person was virally suppressed. This means that people who take ART daily as prescribed and achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.”
The full list and locations of organizational endorsements can be found on Prevention Access. The campaign notes that it is important to recognize that many people living with HIV may not be in a position to reach an undetectable status because of factors limiting treatment access, pre-existing ART treatment resulting in resistance or ART toxicities. Some may choose not to be treated or may not be ready to start treatment.
Also, note that an undetectable or fully suppressed viral load only prevents HIV transmission. Condoms help prevent HIV as well as other STIs and pregnancy.