Centre for Life endorses the “Undetectable Equals Untransmittable” (U=U) Consensus Statement and becomes member of the growing community of scientific and social organizations, who recognizes that people living with HIV on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) with an undetectable viral load in their blood have a negligible risk of sexual transmission of HIV (“NEGLIGIBLE” = so small or unimportant as to be not worth considering; insignificant).
More specifically, recent and large-scale surveys have repeatedly confirmed that someone living with HIV cannot transmit the virus to another person provided that he/she:
- is on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) and maintains adherence to treatment instructions ( i.e. drugs are taken every day and at specific times, the dietary instructions given by the attending physician are followed, drugs must not be taken together with other medication or substances -legal or illegal- that may interact with antiretrovirals),
- has achieved and maintains an undetectable viral load in their blood for at least 6 months, as confirmed by regular re-examinations (every 3-6 months) in the hospital unit where he/she is monitored, and
- does not suffer from any other sexually transmitted disease (as well as his/her sexual partner).
This understanding of non-transmission of HIV by people taking antiretroviral therapy and having an undetectable viral load – subject to the above conditions – has significant implications in relation to our perception towards HIV in our days and our attitude towards people living with the virus, as well as in relation to strategic planning for the prevention of HIV infection. Informing the population about issues of safer sexual behavior, the extension of antiretroviral therapy to the whole population living with HIV in Greece and the integration of HIV testing into regular health screening, are among the most powerful tools we now have to reduce ongoing transmission of HIV.
On the occasion of the declaration “Undetectable = Untransmittable”, we are again demanding from the competent institutions of the State to resolve the repeatedly detected problems of the inadequate access to antiretroviral therapy and the lack of reagents for the regular monitoring of viral load. At Centre for Life we are working intensely in this direction, both to disseminate this specific message and to ensure its proper understanding.
Important note: The message “Undetectable Equals Untransmittable” under no circumstances implies acceptance or encouragement of sexual contact without the use of a condom. The use of condoms not only prevents HIV transmission, but also plays an important role in preventing other STIs.