“I have undetectable HIV” is a phrase that can cause some controversy in the HIV/AIDS community. But it also causes great celebration as well. So what exactly does it mean?
Undetectable HIV is when a positive patient, linked to antiretroviral therapy (ART), viral load tests reveals less than 40 copies of the virus per milliliter in blood, according to the CDC. This state is also known as “viral suppression”, one of the goals of the 90-90-90 initiative. This goal was established by the UN and adopted by nations all around the world as a way to control the AIDS epidemic. The goal is for 90% of all positive individuals to receive diagnosis, 90% of all positive patients to receive treatment and 90% of all people treated to achieve viral suppression.
A study conducted at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, HPTN 052, reflected that once an individual has returned with a “suppressed” result on viral load tests for 6 months, the likelihood of transmitting the disease is negligible to non-existent.
Undetectable HIV can also mean that patients are less likely to develop symptoms.
Continued medical care is pertinent
ART is essential for maintaining undetectable HIV, even after undetectable diagnoses. Continuing to work with a trusted medical professional to maintain a standard level of care is the best way to ensure sustained health.
There is an important conversation that should still be had between consenting adults about the presence of HIV, no matter how minimal. Communication remains a key part of establishing healthy, open and honest sexual relationships.
A message of hope
The HIV community now typically looks at this breakthrough as a positive future and life for those who have lived in fear so long of dying from the illness. Achieving the undetectable status is an opportunity for individuals with this disease to be able to dream and thrive in the world instead of having their lives cut short.
ARCpoint Labs is a national laboratory for several different types of tests, including HIV. Contact us today to get tested.