Treatment as Prevention
HIV treatment medications work to control the virus by reducing the amount of HIV virus (viral load) in a person’s blood, and the goal is to reduce it to a level so low that it cannot be detected by regular testing methods. This is sometimes called undetectable viral load.
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.
Having an undetectable viral load is not the same as a cure because the HIV virus is still present in the body. However, having controlled HIV 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 preventionaccess.org or Understanding U=U
You can explore the evidence for U=U at
- Opposites Attract study
- PARTNER study
- Fast-Track Cities data
- HIV Prevention Trial Network