U=U: Undetectable HIV = Untransmittable HIV
If you are in treatment and have an undetectable viral load HIV can't be transmitted through sex, even without using a condom. The safest sex you can have is therefore with someone with an undetectable viral load.
When someone who is living with HIV receives treatment and takes their medication as prescribed, their viral load decreases to a point where it’s no longer detectable. The person then has undetectable HIV. A person with undetectable HIV can’t transmit it to someone else through sex, even if a condom is not used.
The results of the so-called Partner II study, presented at the AIDS Conference 2018 in Amsterdam, confirms that undetectable HIV equals untransmittable HIV. 783 couples from 14 European countries, where one is living with undetectable HIV and the other without HIV, participated in the study. The couples reported about 77 000 condomless anal intercourses without one single case of HIV transmission within the couples. The study was a continuation of the Partner I study, which included both homo- and heterosexual couples and investigated both vaginal and anal intercourse. Partner II only focused on male homosexual couples. Combined, the studies show that undetectable HIV can’t be transmitted through sex. Undetectable HIV is untransmittable HIV. U=U.
So I can skip the condom?
Undetectable HIV can’t be transmitted through sex, even without a condom. However, the condom still provides a good protection against sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. If you are unsure of your own or your sex partner’s HIV status, condom is also an effective protection against HIV transmission.
Read more about U=U (undetectable = untransmittable), here (opens in a new window)
Read more about the Partner II study here (opens in a new window)