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Undetectable = Untransmittable, what does this mean for patients living with HIV?

According to findings from two large international studies ( PARTNER I, PARTNER II, and HPTN 052), patients maintaining undetectable viral loads through HIV treatment makes HIV untransmittable through sexual activity.

Healthcare providers can share the following strategy with patients to help them maintain an undetectable load and remain unable to transmit: continue HIV treatment consistently, work with your healthcare provider and maintain periodic testing to keep track of load levels.

After at least two consecutive undetectable viral load results, the patient can participate in unprotected sex without fear of HIV transmission. For most patients, achieving an undetectable load will take 3-6 months of antiretroviral treatment. If a patient’s viral load is not undetectable or becomes detectable again, risk of transmission increases and PREP or other prevention strategies should be advised until undetectable levels are achieved. This information applies exclusively to HIV transmission.

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