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What is U=U

Prevention Access Campaign and a community of people living with HIV collaborated with the leading researchers on HIV sexual transmission to answer a fundamental question about living with HIV and having an undetectable viral load: Will I pass on HIV to my sexual partner?  

The science is clear. People living with HIV can feel confident that if they have an undetectable viral load and take their medications as prescribed, they will not pass on HIV to sexual partners (Undetectable = Untransmittable U=U).

U=U offers freedom and hope. For many people living with HIV and their partners, U=U opens up social, sexual, and reproductive choices they never thought would be possible. It is an unprecedented opportunity to transform the lives of people with HIV and the field:

  • Reduces the shame and fear of sexual transmission and opens up possibilities for conceiving children without alternative means of insemination.

  • Dismantles HIV stigma on the community, clinical, and personal level.

  • Encourages people living with HIV to start and stay on treatment to keep them and their partners healthy.

  • Offers a strong public health argument for universal access to diagnostics, treatment, and care to save lives and bring us closer to ending the epidemic.

However, the majority of millions of people living with HIV do not know U=U, and many do not have access to the diagnostics, treatment, and care they need to achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load. There are still confusing messages, outdated websites, and uninformed policymakers and healthcare workers who are not comfortable sharing this information, don’t yet know about it, or don’t yet realize the significance of it. 

Prevention Access Campaign’s U=U campaign has grown into a global movement of activists, researchers, and Community Partners that are changing what it means to live with HIV by ensuring the groundbreaking science reaches the people it was intended to benefit.

NOTE: An undetectable viral load is typically under 40 copies/ml depending on the diagnostic tests. However, studies show a person living with HIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART) with a viral load of 200 copies/ml or less also cannot sexually transmit HIV. This is called being “virally suppressed.” For the purposes of the U=U campaign and any Prevention Access Campaign materials, the term “undetectable” is used synonymously with the term “virally suppressed,” meaning a person living with HIV with a viral load of less than 200 copies/ml cannot transmit HIV.

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