Preventing sexual transmission

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Another huge benefit of taking HIV treatment and maintaining an undetectable viral load is that it can prevent HIV from being passed to the people you have sex with. The science we have to back this up is solid.

Many research studies have proven that when HIV positive people are on treatment and maintain an undetectable viral load, they cannot pass HIV to their sex partners. Not a single person in these studies became HIV positive through oral, vaginal or anal sex with an HIV positive person, even when condoms or other prevention methods were not used. It also didn't matter if someone had a sexually transmitted infection or if the person with HIV had experienced a viral load blip. There were no HIV transmissions!

Because of these findings, we can confidently say that taking HIV treatment and maintaining an undetectable viral load is a highly effective way to prevent HIV transmission during sex. With or without condoms, if you’re undetectable, you won’t pass HIV to your sex partners. For many people, this is life-changing—transforming the way they feel about sex, their relationships and themselves.

PrEP: HIV-negative people using treatment as prevention

HIV-negative people who are at high risk for HIV transmission can take certain HIV medications to dramatically lower their risk. This prevention method is called PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). Research shows that when used as prescribed, it is extremely rare for an HIV-negative person to become HIV positive when using PrEP.