Living Positive Victoria is proud to be a community partner and endorse the ‘Undetectable Equals Untransmittable’ (U=U) Consensus Statement issued by the Prevention Access Campaign.
The statement has the backing of leading health researchers around the globe and supports solid evidence that people living with HIV (PLHIV) on antiretroviral therapy (ART) for at least six months, have an ongoing undetectable viral load and is engaged in care, have a negligible to non-existent risk of sexual transmission of HIV[i] anally or vaginally.
“This campaign addresses the new discoveries in science about HIV transmission, viral load and speaks to what living with HIV means to those in Victoria in 2017,” said Richard Keane, Living Positive Victoria President. “We are proud to support this campaign and the efforts to change the dialogue in our community about what it means to live with HIV.”
Based on research from studies around the world including HIV Prevention Trial Network (HPTN 052), Opposites Attract, and the Swiss Statement, sero-discordant couples in heterosexual and same-sex relationships did not transmit the virus to their partners if the HIV positive partner had a undetectable viral load. In the most recent study, PARTNER, there were zero transmissions out of 58,000 condomless sex acts between people with HIV with undetectable viral loads and their partners who are HIV negative.
The U=U statement goes on to say:
Continued and reliable HIV suppression requires selection of appropriate agents and excellent adherence to treatment. HIV viral suppression should be monitored to assure both personal health and public health benefits.
“Sharing the knowledge of these studies is a powerful tool for PLHIV and a way to combat the stigma that PLHIV often face,” Keane continues. “We understand ‘undetectable’ does not mean ‘cured’ but being on ART has major health benefits and that information will help members of our community to make informed decisions about treatment and their sexual health.”
Information about the Prevention Access Campaign can be found at: www.preventionaccess.org
[i] Much of the current prevention messaging refers to this as Treatment as Prevention or TasP. As of the writing of this primer, there have been no confirmed cases of HIV transmission from a person with an undetectable viral load in any studies. The official cut-off point for an undetectable viral load as defined by the WHO ranges from <50 copies/ml in high income countries to <1,000 copies/ml in low to middle-income countries. For the purposes of this statement, an undetectable viral load is defined as under <200 copies/ml, which is also the measurement for viral suppression.