icons / menu
icons / angleLeft HIV & AIDS

Undetectable Viral Load (UVL)

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the use of HIV medications to reduce HIV viral load. When someone living with HIV consistently uses ART, the number of copies is greatly reduced in the person’s blood and other bodily fluids, in the vast majority of cases to undetectable levels.

Ultimately, for someone living with HIV having an undetectable viral load (UVL) leads to better long-term health outcomes.

Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U)

Research has proven that an added benefit of someone living with HIV an undetectable viral load is that they cannot pass HIV on. This includes having sex without condoms.

In fact, UVL is currently the most effective way of preventing the transmission of HIV.

For a summary of some of these studies, head to The Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM) website: https://ashm.org.au/about/what-we-do/position-statements/U-equals-U/

The U=U Campaign, initiated by Prevention Access Campaign, plays an important role in getting the message out there that an undetectable viral load is the most powerful way to prevent HIV.

If someone living with HIV has an undetectable viral load, will they still test positive for HIV?
icons / angleDown
icons / angleUp

Yes. A person with an undetectable viral load is still HIV positive. An undetectable viral load is not a cure for HIV.

If someone has an Undetectable Viral Load, is it safe to have sex without condoms?
icons / angleDown
icons / angleUp

Of all the options for preventing HIV (including PEP, PrEP, and condoms) UVL is proven to be the most powerful way of preventing HIV. But UVL will only protect you from HIV. For this reason it's important to consider condoms to prevent other STIs and remember to get a regular sexual health check.

hearts

Thorne Harbour relies upon your continued support

Donate