What Does "Undetectable = Untransmittable" Mean?​

Two men laying on grass

"Undetectable" means that a test cannot detect the virus in the blood of a person living with HIV, although extremely small amounts of HIV are still present. Someone who takes HIV treatment and is "undetectable" for 6 or more continuous months does not transmit the virus through sex.

Undetectable also means the virus is being well controlled by HIV meds. If a person with undetectable HIV stops their medications, the virus returns to a detectable level, which then increases the risk of transmission.

The lingo

Undetectable. U=U, short for "undetectable = untransmittable". Treatment as prevention, or "TasP". Basically, these terms all mean the same thing: If a person living with HIV stays undetectable for 6 months or more while on treatment, they cannot transmit HIV through sex.

Scientific evidence

Three global studies showed no HIV transmissions within mixed-status couples when the partner with HIV was undetectable for 6 or more months. This included more than 126,000 acts of reported condomless sex among mixed-status heterosexual and gay male couples. (The studies were HPTN 052PARTNER and Opposites Attract.) To date worldwide, there are no verified reports of someone getting HIV from a partner who is undetectable.

I want more information!

For more information on the U=U campaign and the science behind U=U, visit Prevention Access Campaign

For information for trans and cis women living with HIV, visit HIVE's Women Living with HIV and Trans Women pages . 

For information for cis and trans men living with HIV, visit HIVE's Men Living with HIV and Trans Men pages. 

Visit our U=U for advocates page for more in-depth resources and information. 

In collaboration with Prevention Access Campaign logo