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The Centers for Disease Control (finally?) Declares HIV is Untransmittable if Viral Loads are Undetectable

This is something I’ve heard for a little while, however, I’ve never seen anything official.

Well, here it is, officially, via a memo from the Centers for Disease Control.

“When [antiretroviral treatment] 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),” the statement continues, “no HIV transmissions to an HIV-negative partner were observed when the HIV-positive person was virally suppressed. 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.”

Just to be clear, and responsible, in this post – this does NOT suggest that folks should slack off of being smart about their sexual health (nor does it mean you shouldn’t disclose your status to any and all sexual partners). In fact, the Centers for Disease Control has also put out a report saying STDs are at a record high.

More than two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in the United States in 2016, the highest number ever, according to the annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

So yeah – that is not what this is saying AT ALL. But – what it IS saying, is that if you (or your partner) are HIV positive, with viral loads that are undetectable (which will need to be confirmed by a doctor), you cannot transmit HIV to someone who is HIV negative.

There are so many hopeful advances when it comes to HIV, transmission, suppression, and cures. I believe we will see the end of this in my lifetime.

But for now, education and responsible sex is the answer.