What does it mean? Possibly the end of the epidemic?
If you are a person living with HIV, antiretroviral treatments (ART's) are now so effective, that if they are taken correctly the HIV virus can be supressed to undetectable levels (also known as viral suppression). This is because the ARTs stop the virus from reproducing and that means your immune system can repair itself and isn’t further damaged. This means that you can live an active and healthy life and have a normal life expectancy. But, obviously that can only happen if you test and know your status.
The totally amazing part is that not only is your own health protected, but it is proven that you cannot pass the virus on, even through unprotected sex. Our friends who started U=U (Undetectable equals Untransmittable) have gathered all the scientific evidence and data together and made a spectacular campaign letting everyone know you #cantpassiton. We along with many others that we have met on our journey such as, as the Terrence Higgins Trust, are doing everything we can to get the world to know the facts and hopefully break down some of the fear still surrounding HIV and AIDS - which is one of the many things that stops people from testing.
Here are the basic facts:
- It’s usually pretty straight forward to achieve an undetectable viral load. It usually takes around 6 months of regularly taking ART’s to achieve it. Then once you have achieved viral suppression, you just have to stick with it and stay engaged in your healthcare.
- Sometimes your ART’s are just one tablet a day.
- Early diagnosis is key because the earlier you are diagnosed the earlier you can start treatment.
- With the improvements in medicine you and your partners can live healthy sexual and reproductive lives.
- U=U is the most effective way to prevent HIV transmission. U=U means you will have a zero risk of passing the virus on to your partner. However it’s important to still use condoms as they help prevent other STIs and pregnancy.
- If you’d like to start or add to your family U=U means we can have sex and conceive children without fear of transmission or alternative and expensive means of insemination. You need to remember that U=U only applies to sexual transmission, not to breastfeeding or needle sharing.
BioSure is a U=U partner and our team are genuinely passionate about supporting the U=U campaign and the global plan to eradicate HIV/AIDS by 2030 through helping people to find out their HIV status on their own terms.
We want to make people feel more confident in their choices and take responsibility for their healthcare and to change the conversation about how people think, feel and talk about HIV.