HIV Treatment as Prevention and U=U
What is “Undetectable Equals Untransmittable” (U=U)?
- The U=U campaign recognizes the clear scientific evidence demonstrating that a person with HIV who has a durably suppressed viral load will not transmit HIV to their sexual partners.
- Combined data from 2008-2016 show that there were 0 linked HIV transmissions after more than a hundred thousand condom-less sex acts within both heterosexual and male-male serodiscordant couples where the partner living with HIV had a durably undetectable viral load.
ID/HIV providers have a crucial role in providing accurate information to patients with HIV:
- Knowing U=U can be transformative for people living with HIV and their interpersonal relationships. This affirms that they are not disease vectors and can be touched and loved.
- Many people with HIV still face both institutional and personal stigma and discrimination. As a result, many avoid relationships, sexual or otherwise, because of their perceived potential to transmit HIV.
Talking to patients about U=U:
- Counsel them on the necessity of staying undetectable for U=U to work.
- Educate them on the importance of taking HIV medications every day to stay healthy and also prevent transmission to their sexual partners.
- Explain and reinforce that when the virus is suppressed, they will not transmit HIV to partners.
- Encourage patients to know their viral load by keeping their medical appointments so they and their partners are sure of their undetectable status
Counsel patients about STD risk and preventive measures such as condoms and screening.
Resources for providers:
- CDC: HIV Treatment Works campaign and new CME course on HIV treatment as prevention for providers (free Medscape registration required).
- CDC: HIV Transmission Prevention for Health Care Providers
- HIVMA: U=U Postcard
- NYC Department of Health: HIV U=U Information for Providers
- NIH: 10 Things to Know about HIV Suppression
- UCSF Clinician Consultation Center: HIV/AIDS Management
- New resources to be added as they are released