CDC officially says undetectable means untransmittable for HIV

ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has officially said that having an undetectable HIV load means that it won’t be transmitted to partners.

The CDC made the announcement on Wednesday, Sept. 27, which was also National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

From the CDC:

Gay and bisexual men are severely affected by HIV. More than 26,000 gay and bisexual men received an HIV diagnosis in 2015, representing two-thirds of all new diagnoses in the United States,and diagnoses increased among Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men from 2010 to 2014.

However, recent trends suggest that prevention efforts are slowing the spread of HIV among some gay and bisexual men. From 2010 to 2014, HIV diagnoses fell among white gay and bisexual men and remained stable among African American gay and bisexual men after years of increases.

Scientific advances have shown that antiretroviral therapy (ART) preserves the health of people living with HIV. We also have strong evidence of the prevention effectiveness of ART. When ART results in viral suppression, defined as less than 200 copies/ml or undetectable levels, it prevents sexual HIV transmission. Across three different studies, including thousands of couples and many thousand acts of sex without a condom or pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), no HIV transmissions to an HIV-negative partner were observed when the HIV-positive person was virally suppressed.

This means that people who take ART daily as prescribed and achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.

The CDC also stated that many do still fail to get treatment. The agency called on support for local health and community based organizations to help with testing and prevention, including using PrEP.

You can read the full note here.