Menu

Health Officials Agree Undetectable HIV Levels Likely Mean Uninfectious

Medical organizations endorse the “Undetectable = Untransmissible” campaign, which aims to raise awareness of scientific evidence showing that virally suppressed people living with HIV cannot infect others.

Nov 26, 2017
Catherine Offord

FLICKR, NIAID

More than 500 organizations from 67 countries have now endorsed a campaign promoting awareness that virally suppressed HIV-positive people cannot sexually transmit HIV. Launched in early 2016 to confront the stigma surrounding HIV infection, Prevention Access Campaign’s Undetectable = Untransmissible (U=U) movement has received support from major medical organizations including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The fact that people infected with HIV who are virally suppressed cannot sexually transmit the virus to others is now accepted in the HIV/AIDS community as a result of accumulating evidence since the early 2000s,” notes an editorial in The Lancet HIV, published earlier this month.

In particular, three large studies carried out in the last decade with couples practicing unprotected sex found zero reported cases of sexual transmission of the virus from a person with virally suppressed HIV to an HIV-negative partner. The findings support research showing that a daily dose of antiretroviral treatment (ART) can suppress the virus to undetectable levels and prevent spread to other people.

Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, outlined these findings in a statement published earlier this fall (September 27). However, he notes that there are still uncertainties surrounding transmission risk that need to be addressed with research.

“The public-health challenge now is moving from theory to implementation,” he tells The Washington Post. “Many questions arise following the information that when a person with HIV has an undetectable viral load, he has effectively no risk of transmitting the virus.”

The effect of missed medication on viral suppression, for example, is not currently well understood. And in some people, the viral load may fluctuate around the detectable limit, with unclear consequences for the risk of sexual transmission.

Nevertheless, the evidence-based message that effective treatment prevents HIV transmission has “already been successful in influencing public opinion, causing more people with HIV (and their friends and families) to comprehend that they can live long, healthy lives, have children, and never have to worry about passing on their infection to others,” notes The Lancet HIV. “The clarity of the message will make it easier to promote the undeniable benefits of treatment,” and to achieve “complete elimination of the entirely unfair and outdated stigma still faced by many people living with HIV today.”

April 2019

Will Car T Cells Smash Tumors?

New trials take the therapy beyond the blood

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Getting More Consistent Results by Knowing the Quality of Your Protein
Getting More Consistent Results by Knowing the Quality of Your Protein
Download this guide from NanoTemper to learn how to identify and evaluate the quality of your protein samples!
Myth Busting: The Best Way to Use Pure Water in the Lab
Myth Busting: The Best Way to Use Pure Water in the Lab
Download this white paper from ELGA LabWater to learn about the role of pure water in the laboratory and the advantages of in-house water purification!
Shimadzu's New Nexera UHPLC Series with AI and IoT Enhancements Sets Industry Standard for Intelligence, Efficiency and Design
Shimadzu's New Nexera UHPLC Series with AI and IoT Enhancements Sets Industry Standard for Intelligence, Efficiency and Design
Shimadzu Corporation announces the release of the Nexera Ultra High-Performance Liquid Chromatograph series, incorporating artificial intelligence as Analytical Intelligence, allowing systems to detect and resolve issues automatically. The Nexera series makes lab management simple by integrating IoT and device networking, enabling users to easily review instrument status, optimize resource allocation, and achieve higher throughput.
IDT lowers genomic barriers with powerful rhAmpSeq™ targeted sequencing system
IDT lowers genomic barriers with powerful rhAmpSeq™ targeted sequencing system
Increasing accuracy and reducing cost barriers, IDT’s innovative system delivers simple and cost-effective amplicon sequencing