U = U / Undetectable = Untransmittable
U = U, Undetectable=Untransmittable, is the new hot slogan aimed at reducing the stigma of having HIV. The campaign is focused on educating others that viral suppression of HIV (defined as less than 200 copies/mL or undetectable levels) achieved through antiretroviral therapy (ART) prevents sexual HIV transmission. Formally recognized by CDC in a Dear Colleague statement last fall, scientific advances have validated this benefit, in addition to preserving the health of people living with HIV.
According to the CDC, across three different studies that included thousands of couples and many thousands of acts of sex without a condom or use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), no HIV transmissions to an HIV-negative partner were observed when the HIV-positive person was virally suppressed. When HIV-positive individuals take ART daily as prescribed and then achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load, they will have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to their partner. Treatment as prevention for HIV positive individuals and use of PrEP for HIV negative individuals are two very important advances in the fight to eliminate HIV transmission.
Recently the Spokesman-Review’s Rachel Alexander authored a great piece on this important prevention practice after seeing someone holding a U = U sign at Spokane’s Pride parade in June. Read article.
For more information on prescribing PrEP, you may contact SRHD’s PrEP Coordinator Katie Booher, MPH at 509.324.1438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.