This first appeared as a blog post in September 2017
People living with HIV can feel confident that if they have a sustained undetectable viral load, they will not pass on HIV to their sexual partners. For some it seems like a bold statement, but the science is clear.
In June (2017), the PAN Board of Directors passed a unanimous motion to join the Prevention Access Campaign (PAC) – a community of people living with HIV, researchers, organizations, and other allies who share the common goals to end the dual epidemics of HIV and HIV-related stigma by empowering people with accurate and meaningful information.
Along with over 270 leading organizations from 29 countries, PAN also signed the U=U consensus statement (see below), becoming a signatory and joining other organizations here in BC – YouthCO, Health Initiative for Men, Positive Living Society of BC and AIDS Vancouver – that have already led the way.
THE CONSENSUS STATEMENT:
“People living with HIV on ART with an undetectable viral load in their blood have a negligible* risk of sexual transmission of HIV. Depending on the drugs employed it may take as long as six months for the viral load to become undetectable. Continued and reliable HIV suppression requires selection of appropriate agents and excellent adherence to treatment. HIV viral suppression should be monitored to assure both personal health and public health benefits.
NOTE: An undetectable HIV viral load only prevents HIV transmission to sexual partners. Condoms also help prevent HIV transmission as well as other STIs and pregnancy. The choice of HIV prevention method may be different depending upon a person’s sexual practices, circumstances and relationships. For instance, if someone is having sex with multiple partners or in a non-monogamous relationship, they might consider using condoms to prevent other STIs.”
* so small or unimportant as to be not worth considering; insignificant.
“This is such an important initiative and one that we as an organization feel strongly about and that’s why PAN fully recommends that member organizations join the Prevention Access Campaign and sign on to the U=U Consensus Statement,” says PAN’s Board Co-Chair, Jesse Brown. “PAN and our member organizations have long recognized that stigma is a huge barrier to ending the HIV epidemic and the U=U campaign has tremendous potential to combat stigma.”
Collectively we can build a critical mass of accurate messaging. The world needs to know #UequalsU.