HIV News and Gossip Blog

Do you still believe Undetectable equals Untransmittable?

Posted on May 22, 2017 at 7:45 PM

Current headlines reads that a man in Melbourne, Australia has tested positive for the HIV virus while on PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis).

Within the last year I have been seeing many say that undetectable equals untransmittable. Many took that and ran with it saying that if they are undetectable that there’s no way they can infect someone else with HIV. History and education have proven that HIV while undetectable still has a 1% chance of being transmitted.


Very rarely will this occur if the negative partner is taking PrEP (Truvada) and the positive partner is undetectable and taking their antiretroviral medicines as prescribed. So how does one become HIV positive when everything is done right? This is where your own individual genetic make up comes into play. Just like certain medicines give some allergies and they can’t take them it’s kind of like that with HIV medicines. Most times you don’t know a medicine won’t work or you’re allergic until you’ve been taking it for a few days to weeks or even months out.


The doctors in Melbourne say that they look at the genetic makeup of the virus to determine if it is a drug-resistant strain or a non-resistant strain. Many people have a naturally built up resistance to HIV medications like Truvada but does anyone else see the bigger picture? The picture outside of the fact that resistance is happening?


Are these PrEP users depending on Truvada to be the saviour of all things that will keep them HIV negative? Are condoms being used? I understand a condom breaking and you being at risk and exposed but how many people are actually really still using condoms while taking PrEP?


The talk of undetectable equals untransmittable is scary and honestly very misleading. It adds to the stigma. Someone with HIV says to someone who is HIV negative, “Oh, we can be together and have sex because you can take PrEP and you won’t get HIV.” Guess what the reply most times says, “ARE YOU CRAZY?! I’m not going to rely on some pill to keep me from getting HIV.” Then they will probably say something like they wouldn’t even risk it with using a condom.


One of the most important things to do when involved with an HIV positive partner and you’re taking PrEP is to know their Viral Load and CD4 count.



Once we educate each other and understand that yes there are new medications and treatments that are making life easier for us….. If we aren’t educating those who are negative then we’re still fighting a losing battle.


To read more about the Melbourne patient infected with HIV while using PrEP click here: Sydney Morning Herald 

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