U=U Undetectable = Untransmittable
People who are on effective treatment can't pass HIV on to anyone else.
Medications for HIV are so good that a person living with HIV can live a long and healthy life.
Antiretroviral Therapy is used to treat HIV. It doesn't cure the virus, but over time, it suppresses the amount of HIV in your body ("viral load") to the point where standard HIV tests can't detect it. This is called being "undetectable".
Studies over the last two years have found that someone who has an undetectable viral load cannot pass on HIV to anyone else.
This is because when someone is undetectable, there isn't enough of the virus present for an infection to occur.
This is true for all combinations of HIV medications, so long as your viral load is undetectable.
Remember, if you stop taking your ART medication, your viral load will go back up again and you will no longer be undetectable. This means that HIV could be transmitted to your partners. Taking medication for HIV keeps you healthy and protects your partners.
U=U works for everyone, regardless of sexuality. The studies into this included both straight and gay couples.
U=U also works for all kinds of sex. The study reported zero transmission for oral, vaginal and anal sex. It didn't matter whether the HIV positive partner was the top or the bottom.
U=U still works if one or both partners have an STI. The risk of HIV transmission is only greater if ART is not used.
Remember that you can still use a condom to prevent other STIs and/or pregnancy. Whether you use condoms or not is a personal choice and it's important to talk to your partners about this.
- Taking your medication every day
- Not missing doses of your medication
- Having an undetectable viral load for at least 3 months (some guidelines say 6 months)
Missing your meds once or occasionally will not effect U=U. However, if you miss your ART for 2-3 days, you should check if your viral load is still undetectable.
Good adherence is essential for U=U. U=U depends on not regularly missing your HIV meds.