Treatment is Prevention

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Did you know that effective treatment prevents HIV transmission during sex?

HIV treatments control the reproduction of the virus in the body. When treatment reduces the amount of virus (viral load) in the blood to low levels, HIV can longer be passed on. This is known as viral suppression or undetectable viral load.

Viral suppression, or undetectable viral load, is anything under 200 copies per ml.

A person with HIV who has an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners if:

  • they have been on HIV medications for six months
  • they have an undetectable viral load for six months
  • they take their medication as directed by their doctor
  • they have regular viral load tests

This is sometimes called U=U, or Undetectable = Untransmissible.

The word ’undetectable’ can be a bit confusing because the viral load tests nowadays can detect very small amounts of HIV virus.  Remember, any viral load under 200 copies per ml is considered undetectable.

Having an undetectable viral load is not the same as a cure because the HIV virus is still present in the body. However, having viral suppression does mean that you can have a normal life expectancy and cannot pass on HIV to your sexual partners. There is no reason why HIV should stop you from living, working, dating or starting a family.

If you are having any problems taking your medication, for any reason, it is important to talk about it as soon as possible with your HIV doctor.  You can also talk with one of the Living Positive Victoria peer support workers

U=U is also the name of a community-led movement of HIV advocates, activists, researchers, and over 1,050 Community Partners from 105 countries. You can learn more at or Understanding U=U

You can explore the evidence for U=U at


Living Positive Victoria acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where we work and live. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We celebrate the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.