For decades, doctors and scientists researched and found evidence that high viral loads were at the center of increased HIV transmission rates. In the mid-’90s, major advances in antiretroviral therapy proved that a triple-drug treatment could durably suppress the virus to minimal levels.
In 2016, Prevention Access launched the U=U (Undetectable=Untransmittable) campaign, a movement that aims to raise awareness about HIV transmission, promote treatment plans and educate on prevention methods. Since then, U=U has been recognized by the global medical and scientific community as a motto that has changed lives, broken stigmas, and stopped transmissions. But what does U=U really mean?
The Meaning of Undetectable & Untransmittable HIV
Early diagnosis and treatment of HIV are crucial to prevent the spread of the virus and to achieve viral load suppression, the reduction of HIV in the body to undetectable levels. Therefore, if you are an individual living with HIV and the virus levels in your body are neutralized by effective ART (antiretroviral therapy) treatment, HIV becomes untransmittable, and the risk of contagion nonexistent.
Antiretroviral medicines do not cure HIV, but they can control it. Properly following ART treatment, as prescribed by a healthcare provider, will decrease an individual’s viral load to very low levels and could render it undetectable over time. Starting treatment as soon as possible is crucial to effectively stop the virus from multiplying.
Patience is key; take into account that, for the virus to be considered untransmittable, an individual living with the HIV will need to be undetectable for six months – typically, a minimum of two viral load tests will be taken over this period of time to assess the status of the infection. If you are an individual living with HIV, don’t forget to take your medicines as directed and visit your doctor frequently for checkups, it could save lives!
Learn More About U=U by Visiting One of Our PA Locations
If you believe you may have contracted HIV, it is paramount that you visit a trained provider as soon as possible to get tested and start ART. The team of qualified, experienced staff at Novus is committed to providing high-quality care for each patient throughout every visit.