The Center for Disease Control has accepted the fact that HIV positive individuals with an undetectable viral load cannot pass the virus through having unprotected sex. This means that if it cannot be detected, it cannot be transmitted.
The CDC is one of the many who have signed a consensus statement in 2016 that states “undetectable = untransmittable”
The CDC stated, “When antiretroviral therapy (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,” the CDC letter said. “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.”
Backing from the CDC could also help reduce the stigma around HIV positive patients. Often fear and misunderstanding surround HIV positive people, and many believe their chances of infecting a sexual partner are higher than they actually are. Even though only 10 percent of participants in a recent survey had non-suppressed viral loads, one third of respondents believed their chance of infecting a sexual partner was high.
Eric Sawyer, vice president of public affairs and policy at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, told Healthline “The CDC’s acknowledgement is a further indication that our laws around nondisclosure are no longer supported by the current accepted science and research about HIV transmission.”
Research and awareness concerning HIV has been increasing constantly, and the stigma surrounding it has been reducing as we learn more about the virus. Bruce Richman, executive director of the Prevention Access Campaign’s Undetectable=Untransmittable, told HivPlusMag “It’s changing what it means to live with HIV and will propel us toward ending the epidemic.”
Photo Courtesy of Prevention Access Campaign on Facebook