Undetectable, is Untransmittable
U=U is a recent campaign that seeks to share one simple message: if you are living with HIV and have an undetectable viral load, HIV will not be sexually transmitted to your partner. By studying couples where one partner is living with HIV, and the other is not, experts have collected enough evidence that they can now conclude that people living with HIV who have an undetectable viral load will not pass HIV on to their sexual partners.
What do we mean by ‘undetectable viral load?’
If someone living with HIV has an undetectable viral load, it means that the amount of HIV virus in the blood is too small to be detected by a blood test. This does not mean that you have been ‘cured’ of HIV: it simply means that your HIV treatment has successfully reduced the number of copies of HIV virus in your body.
What does U=U mean for people living with HIV?
When your HIV treatment has reduced the number of copies of HIV virus in your body to the point that it can no longer be detected, you no longer risk passing the HIV virus to your sex partner. In order for this to be an effective HIV prevention strategy, you should continue to have regular viral load testing in order to be sure that your viral load remains undetectable.
For the most up to date information regarding U=U, please consult CATIE’s website:
Do I need to disclose my HIV-positive status to my sexual partner?
It is important to know that if you are living with HIV, you have some legal obligations regarding the disclosure of your HIV status to your sexual partner. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, people living with HIV can be charged with aggravated sexual assault if they do not disclose their status to their partner – even if their partner does not become infected.
The only exception in which someone living with HIV is notrequired to disclose their HIV status, is when a condom is used andthe partner with HIV has a low viral load (less than 1 500 copies/mL). For more information regarding the legality surrounding HIV status disclosure, please see the following publications by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario: