UVL / Undetectable

updated 2 weeks ago in HIV Prevention

It’s important to have a strategy to help stop the spread of HIV – the good news is there are options to suit you.

You can use different options in different circumstances, or even use a combination.

Choose the HIV strategy that best suits your lifestyle, the sex you enjoy and your HIV status. Your best HIV prevention strategy is the one you can use consistently and correctly.

What is a UVL?

UVL stands for undetectable viral load, which is also known as being undetectable.

For guys living with HIV, being undetectable means the amount of virus in their body has been reduced so low that it can’t be detected by HIV tests.

Having a UVL does not mean that someone is cured of HIV. There is currently no cure for HIV, but maintaining a UVL by using HIV treatment allows most guys living with HIV to live a full and healthy life.

To become and remain undetectable, guys living with HIV must stay on treatment to suppress the virus in their body.

How does having a UVL work?

Current studies show that people living with HIV who maintain a UVL for six months or more cannot pass on HIV to sexual partners. UVL prevents HIV transmission even if condoms aren’t being used.

What sort of protection does UVL provide?

For HIV-negative guys, UVL removes the risk of getting HIV from an-HIV positive partner for as long as they stay undetectable.

For guys living with HIV, staying undetectable over time eliminates the possibility of sexually transmitting the virus to other people. Being undetectable helps protect your organs and nervous system which untreated HIV can damage. It also allows your immune system to work properly, protecting you from everyday infections as normal.

Being undetectable does not protect you from other STIs.

What do I need to look out for when using UVL as an anti-HIV strategy?

If you’re using a UVL as an anti-HIV strategy, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • Having a UVL only prevents you from passing on HIV, so you will still need a strategy for protecting yourself and your sexual partners against other STIs.
  • Guys living with HIV must maintain a UVL for at least six months to eliminate the risk of passing on HIV through sex.
  • Maintaining a UVL requires consistent, ongoing HIV treatment.

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