Posted by Tammy Grassi on 16th Oct 2018
Ntianu Obiora is the Lifestyle Editor at Pulse. She is a writer, soon-to-be published author and social media addict. She wrote a very important and informative article about being HIV-Positive and ‘Undetectable’. Most of us don't know what this means..so keep reading.
Often we hear HIV being described as 'undetectable' and whilst its not a cure, here's what it means for both you and your partner.
Everyone knows that there is no know cure for HIV however, it is possible for your viral load to be so low that the virus is considered 'undetectable'. It may be difficult to wrap your head around but this article explains what it means to be HIV-Positive and ‘Undetectable’.
You might have noticed that ‘undetectable’ has become quite a popular world and there’s an important reason why it’s becoming a popular term among people living with HIV.
As the name suggests, an undetectable viral load occurs in people living with HIV when the virus exists in such small quantities that it can’t be detected by standard blood tests.
Lots of people living with HIV can achieve an undetectable viral load by being consistent with their antiretroviral treatment over a period of at least six months.
Evidence has shown that as long as you continue to have your viral load monitored by a health professional to confirm that you are undetectable, then there is zero risk of you transmitting HIV to others and your health will not be negatively affected by HIV.
Here we look at what it means to be undetectable if you are living with HIV, or if you are HIV-negative but are having sex with someone who is undetectable…
What you need to know if your partner is 'undetectable'
Despite the huge success of ART treatment and the unlikelihood that someone with an undetectable viral load will pass HIV to someone else, it is best to still remain very careful and mindful when engaging in sexual activity.
While the chance of transmitting the virus is minuscule, in theory, it is still possible. For example, if your partner’s viral load suddenly rises due to the interference of another medication which affects your partner's ability to absorb their ART medication, there’s a chance you could contract the virus.
It's important to be clear that being undetectable does not translate to being cured. While the viral load in the blood may be undetectable, the virus still exists in the body, including in fluids like semen and vaginal secretions. People with HIV can experience a 'blip' which means that their viral load can increase in response to a cold, vaccination, and other external circumstances which are often unexpected.
If you and your partner are relying on an undetectable viral load to protect against transmitting HIV, talk to your doctor about how frequently you both should be tested. The average recommendation is between two to four times a year.
If you and your partner are having sex without condom, bear in mind that you aren’t protected against either an unwanted pregnancy or other sexually transmitted infections so make sure the both of you get tested regularly and are using necessary precautions like contraception.
In summary, though it seems really, really difficult to get HIV from someone who's undetectable, one still needs to be responsible about their treatment and get regular viral load tests. HIV treatment is the most effective prevention strategy, use it properly and there's no reason why you should not live a full and happy life.
HIV. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV hijacks cells in your immune system and uses them to replicate (make more copies of itself), destroying those cells in the process.
Viral load. Viral load refers to how many copies of HIV are present in a milliliter sample of blood. Viral load testing is a way to estimate how much HIV is in the blood. It is used to monitor immune function and see how well HIV treatment is working.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART involves taking medications to keep the virus from replicating in an HIV-positive person’s cells. These drugs thereby decrease viral load.
Undetectable viral load. When copies of HIV cannot be detected by standard viral load tests, an HIV-positive person is said to have an “undetectable viral load.” For most tests used clinically today, this means fewer than 50 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood (<50 copies/mL). Reaching an undetectable viral load is a key goal of ART.
PrEP. Short for “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” PrEP is an HIV prevention strategy in which HIV-negative people take an oral pill once a day to reduce their risk of HIV infection.
A great article by Caroline Vrana on how HIV works together with Hepatitis C or alcoholism to accelerate aging and problems in the brain.Overall,when talking about each disease, be it HIV, alcoholism, or Hepatitis C, it affects different aspects of a person, but when someone has both HIV and Hepatitis C or HIV combined with [...]
The International Liver Congress in Paris presented findings that the incidence of lymphoma — Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin — was up to 15 times higher among patents with HIV monoinfection and HIV/hepatitis C virus coinfection compared with the general population.Read more about the Research from The Institute of Biomedical Research and La Coruña University Hospital Complex in [...]
North County residents talk about living with HIV, which attacks the immune system and gradually kills the cells that play the key role in fighting off infection and certain cancers.In San Diego County, doctors have diagnosed more than 12,000 people with AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic, through the end of 2005. Two and a half [...]
With the HIV Strategy Overview, The main goal of "The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation" is to accelerate the decline in HIV infection worldwide & save lives by ensuring expanded & simplified HIV treatment, and improved & effective use of interventions to prevent new infections.They inform us that nearly 37 million people around the globe are [...]
Forgot To Take Your Medicine Today? D'oh! You're Not Alone !!We all tend to forget our daily medication, probiotics or vitamins....the patient cannot be changed, but the capsule can!A very interesting article from Goats and Soda written by Susan Brink that was partly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where researchers describe how they developed & tested what [...]
The 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science in Paris, France took place this year in July, 2017, attended by approximately 6000 doctors, researchers, activists and reporters.Alan Landay PhD, Professor & Chairman, Department of Immunology/Microbiology at Rush university Medical Center, Chicago IL & Elisabeth Menu talk about the Human Microbiome.Alan Landay explains the benefits of therapeutic doses of probiotics, prebiotocs, postbiotics and synbiotics in HIV [...]
One mans experience that gives one a sudden realization or understanding of what is happening today and how a young man with HIV feels. Thanks to Nicole Morley for this wonderful article for Metro.co.uk posted on Wednesday 15 Nov 2017 It’s been decades since an HIV diagnosis would be considered a death sentence – but the stigma, discrimination and wall [...]
Microbiota play a key role in various body functions that include physiological, metabolic, and immunological processes. Now we know that alteration in the gut microbiota can influence infectious and non-infectious diseases.In patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), even those who control their disease with antiretroviral drugs (ART), their gut microbiome is very different to the microbiome of [...]
The Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS lost 6 members this week.A Very informative article posted by Josh Robbins on 16 June 2017. Josh is a HIV-Positive Blogger & Activist, Supporter of Equality & Encouragement.Imstilljosh.com had an exclusive interview with one former member who is warning everyone.They did not wait for President Trump to say, “You’re fired”– they [...]