Guys like Johann stay undetectable to prevent HIV

By Chris Williams, updated 1 year ago in Lifestyle / LGBT people and culture

Johann man leaning against fence wearing UequalsU t shirt

Across Australia, guys are using different methods to stop the spread of HIV. Johann uses HIV treatment every day — it keeps him healthy and prevents HIV transmission.

Johann’s story

It’s fair to call Johann extraordinary over ordinary. He’s a vibrant man with a heart of gold who loves his community and is fond of spreading joy into the world. You’ll never find him short of rainbows.

Johann grew up in Sri Lanka but spent the majority of his life in Australia. It’s here he was first diagnosed with HIV, and for many years Johann has been using HIV treatment to maintain what’s called an undetectable viral load — a measure of the amount of virus being effectively suppressed in someone’s body.

“For me being undetectable has been very freeing, which is absolutely fabulous.”

In Australia, every person newly diagnosed with HIV is encouraged to start treatment quickly. Research from the START Study has shown that early, if not immediate treatment increases life expectancy, improves health and prevents serious illness by more than 50 per cent compared to those who delay starting treatment.

Learning about an undetectable viral load has had a profound effect on Johann’s life. Safe in the knowledge that HIV treatment keeps him healthy and his partners safe, he’s confident to proudly sport an ‘Undetectable = Untransmittable’ T-shirt.

Naturally, Johann has had good reason to feel this way. Being undetectable means he cannot pass HIV on to his sexual partners — even when condoms aren’t being used. That’s a huge burden off his mind.

“If positive and negative people can unite together, we can end HIV.”

Being educated about sexual health is important to Johann and it helps him make informed decisions when it comes to negotiating safe sex. Dating apps are a great way for him to meet people and have a discussion. Other guys who are living with HIV or who use PrEP catch Johann’s eye online, and he’s respectful to guys he meets who choose condoms.

New cases of HIV in Australia are decreasing thanks to the ongoing efforts of guys who are choosing and combining the various different ways to prevent HIV — Guys like Johann. Guys like you. Guys like us.

Real guys making real choices

Guys across Australia are using different methods to stop the spread of HIV. We caught up with other guys around the country to find out how they each make choices, and how that can sometimes change based on the circumstances. Check out their videos here:

Many ways to prevent HIV

From using condoms to highly effective preventative medicines, different methods work for different guys, and that can all change depending on the circumstances. Discover more about this in Using four great options to prevent HIV: a combination for success

So whether you rely on PrEP, an undetectable viral load, condoms, an emergency course of PEP when it’s needed, or even a blend of options, having real conversations about real choices is the foundation for everyone’s safety and enjoyment.

For more information on HIV prevention methods, check out these articles:

Discover more about sexual health topics by checking out our Knowledge Hub. And if there’s anything you’d like to know or discuss, contact us or start a conversation on Facebook Messenger.

If it’s been more than three months since you last had comprehensive HIV and STIs tests, our interactive map will help you locate testing services nearby and across Australia.

You can also reach out to your local HIV/AIDS or LGBTI health organisation as well as community groups providing support to people living with HIV, and for people considering PrEP. You can find their details in our national network of partners.