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
Resources for providers:
- HIVMA: U=U Postcard
- NYC Department of Health: HIV U=U Information for Providers
- NIH: 10 Things to Know about HIV Suppression
- CDC: HIV Transmission Prevention for Health Care Providers
- UCSF Clinician Consultation Center: HIV/AIDS Management
- New resources to be added as they are released