CDC: Undetectable HIV Viral Load Means Untransmittable

CDC: Undetectable HIV Viral Load Means Untransmittable

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a statement, finally agreeing with major HIV organizations, that says when an HIV+ person’s viral load is undetectable, there’s virtually zero chance of transmission of the virus to an uninfected person.

Scientific advances have shown that antiretroviral therapy (ART) preserves the health of people living with HIV.

We also have strong evidence of the prevention effectiveness of ART. When ART results in viral suppression, defined as less than 200 copies/ml or undetectable levels, it prevents sexual HIV transmission.

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.

HIV experts cheered the announcement.

From HIV Plus Magazine:

That is a remarkable statement, as Bruce Richman, executive director of and the Prevention Access Campaign tells us. “This is the moment we have been waiting for! The CDC agreed today there is ‘effectively no risk’ of sexually transmitting HIV when on treatment and undetectable.”

Now, Richman adds, “It’s time to make history and share this news!” He calls on other HIV and LGBT organizations to join “nearly 400 organizations from 56 countries that have signed on as part of a growing and vibrant U=U Community Partner network. Resources on U=U messaging in the U.S. and around the world as well as the related issues of unequal access, social determinants of health, and HIV criminalization are on our website.”

And in related news, Alexander Cheves over at The Advocate has a snappy piece titled “27 Reasons You Should Date an HIV+ Man Right Now.”