Dating Someone with HIV. Updated on October 19, 2016. Marcy Goodfleisch Dating and falling in love is one of the most normal of human behaviors, and for the most part, it's no different for someone with HIV. With some education on both sides, a lot of acceptance and loving understanding, you can indeed have a happy dating relationship with a man or woman who is HIV positive, and you can even marry and have a future. Yes, you can have a fun and fulfilling dating life!. The best way to protect yourself, aside from abstinence, is by using condoms at all times. How to Avoid Catching HIV. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has excellent information on how HIV is transmitted, as well as answers to frequently asked questions. Transmission is generally done through body fluids such as
In 2013, BETA published an article about viral suppression and having an undetectable viral load. A lot has changed since the original article was published. To keep us up-to-date, Barry Zingman, MD, the medical director of the AIDS Center at Montefiore Medical Center and professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine joins us to answer our questions about what it means to be undetectable, the risk of HIV transmission, and more.
How do I know if my viral load is undetectable? The only way to know if your viral load is undetectable is through an HIV viral load or HIV RNA test that your doctor or health care provider can do. You will need to have your blood drawn for this test, and the test will determine the level of virus in your blood that day.
If the level of virus in your blood is below the limit of detection of the test, then we say your virus is “undetectable.” If my viral load is undetectable, can I transmit HIV to other people?
Barry Zingman, MD I’m very happy to say that we know the answer to this. If you are undetectable, and have been on HIV medications for at least six months, and you continue that treatment, the risk of transmitting HIV is effectively zero.
This finding has been well-established over the last six to seven years . After studying thousands of couples, over many years, research has shown that if an HIV-positive person is on effective HIV medications for at least six months, is undetectable, and stays on their HIV medications, they will not transmit HIV to other people.
Does this apply to people having anal sex? Yes. If a person living with HIV is taking HIV medication, and has been undetectable for at least six months, they will not transmit HIV to anal sex partners (and it doesn’t matter whether they are the top or the bottom). We know this is true from research studies with thousands of episodes of people having anal sex, with many years of follow-up.
What about oral sex? Unless there is blood in the mouth, there is . So if you are living with HIV, and are undetectable, you will not pass on HIV to a partner during oral sex. If I’m undetectable, is there a chance my viral load will become detectable again? Being undetectable does not mean that you are cured of HIV. There are three instances when your HIV viral load might come back and be detectable again.
The most common instances are .” Blips are when your HIV levels become slightly detectable, but at a very low level, and then goes back to being undetectable again. People may experience viral blips when they take their HIV medications every day. Viral blips are usually due to issues in the lab, such as some slight error in the test or in the test conditions in the lab.
Occasionally they are due to a slight but true increase in the viral load due to a stress such as an illness or a vaccine. Viral blips, in which the viral load goes right back down to undetectable soon, are considered harmless. There is no appreciable chance that a person with a viral blip will transmit HIV to another person.
People also become detectable when they stop taking their HIV medications or take them only partially. It may take between a week to several weeks after stopping HIV treatment for HIV to become detectable again, but people will see the levels of virus in their body go up to detectable levels. The least likely scenario for a person to go from being undetectable to detectable these days is if the virus in their . (“Resistant” means the medications have stopped working against HIV.) This is very rare for people who take their HIV medications every day, because the HIV medications we prescribe these days (and at least for the last 10 – 15 years) are very powerful and control HIV very well if taken properly.
Resistance is no longer something that is expected to occur, no matter how long a person is treated, as long as they take their medicine well. What if I miss one dose, will my viral load become detectable again? If you are undetectable, and have been taking your medications every day recently, your viral load will very likely stay undetectable even if you miss one dose. The HIV medications are so good these days that it can take a week or even sometimes up to several weeks or more for people’s viral loads to become detectable after medications are stopped.
Should an HIV-negative person with an undetectable, HIV-positive partner take PrEP? People in this situation should make a decision , thinking about their own particular situation, and figuring out what they’re comfortable with. Consider things like: • Are you monogamous with your partner?
• Do you know if your partner is monogamous with you? • Does your partner share their viral load information with you?
Or not? • Do you know if your partner is getting regular medical care? Or are you unsure about that? The more uncertainty there is in answering these questions, the more I would suggest to the person that they consider PrEP.
But if someone is in a monogamous relationship with one HIV-positive person, and that person has been taking HIV medications for at least six months and is undetectable, I’m not sure of any reason why they would need PrEP.
But the more uncertainty there is, whether or not it’s uncertainty related to their partner’s sexual practice or to whether they are undetectable, I would recommend PrEP as an effective method of HIV prevention. There is also sometimes a psychological benefit to being on PrEP. It can make people feel like they’re just adding a second layer of protection, and some people might feel better about taking PrEP for this reason.
Do I still need to use condoms if I’m undetectable? HIV medicines (antiretrovirals) only prevents HIV transmission—they don’t prevent other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), either from you to others, or others to you. , especially if you’re having sex with multiple partners or in situations when you don’t know if your partner could have a detectable HIV viral load or might have an STI.
I do recommend that people strongly consider using condoms—but it’s often for the other STIs or due to an unknown HIV status of their partners. What does Undetectable equals Untransmittable (U=U) mean? that has really taken off in the last year and is accepted and endorsed by organizations worldwide. It shares the message that people who are undetectable do not transmit HIV to other people. This campaign promotes key medical information that is important for people living with HIV to know, but it is also an important concept that reduces HIV stigma in the community.
The phrase really encompasses an idea that people who are living with HIV can be free from HIV stigma, and can live their lives more fully, with less fear, worry, and inhibition. — Which studies are you citing regarding the serodiscordant couples?
Everything I’ve seen about the positive member has put the number closer to 60-80% reduced transmission to the negative member, NOT 90%+ I believe OTHER studies where the NEGATIVE member of a serodiscordant couple was put on antivirals, and THOSE showed a much higher reduced transmission compared to negative individuals not – but the positive individual was on antivirals in all cases.
Kyle more like 100% effective in stopping transmission!! The one transmission was from a cohort who should have never been allowed in the study because he was not yet undetectable! What does ‘extremely low risk’ mean? There was a 96% reduction in HIV transmission risk demonstrated in the HPTN 052 study, which can be considered as ‘extremely low risk’.
Within the study partnerships, there was only one genotypically confirmed HIV transm ission from an HIV-infected participant on ART.
In this case, an individual randomised to immediate ART had not yet achieved an undetectable viral load at the time of viral transmission.
Thanks for your question, Kyle. The two studies mentioned here are Partners in Prevention and HPTN 052, in which HIV transmission was reduced by 92% and 96%, respectively, in couples where the HIV-positive partner was on antiretroviral treatment. (The study findings are reported at and ). The HIV prevention method you’re describing, where an HIV-negative person takes antiretrovirals, is PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). You can read more about PrEP at and at PrEPfacts.org.
Even if you are undetectable, the still means there is free-floating virus in you blood. Yes, it’s lower than <20, meaning 20 copies/mL. But that also does not show what's beyond the blood/brain barrier.
Until we can test – which we cannot now safely do, until you are dead, we may never know what is hiding quiescent in your brain, waiting to strike when you least expect it.
20…. Are you really focusing on less than 20?… seriously? Do you know what the viral loads are during acute and early infection? and you are focused on less than 20… I can’t help but laugh at loud. How do you handle the risk of crosssing the street, taking a shower each day? Please find me 1 shred of evidence of any transmission at this level. Not a bunch of fluff please…we’re not sure…may be chance…viral load is probably… Can you guys just stick to the facts?
best dating someone with hiv undetectable meaning - What does undetectable mean?
FAST FACTS • A person living with HIV is considered to have an ‘undetectable’ viral load when antiretroviral treatment has brought the level of virus in their body to such low levels that blood tests cannot detect it. • There is no risk of passing on HIV if your doctor has confirmed that you are undetectable (or virally suppressed), you continue taking your treatment and attend regular viral load monitoring appointments. Undetectable = Untransmittable.
• Being undetectable isn’t a constant state and if you stop taking your medication then your viral load will go back up again. You might have noticed that ‘undetectable’ has become a bit of a buzzword, and there’s a reason why it’s becoming a popular term among people living with HIV.
As the name suggests, an undetectable occurs in people living with HIV when the virus exists in such small quantities that it can’t be detected by standard blood tests. Many people living with HIV can achieve an undetectable viral load by adhering to 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 to others and your health will not be affected by HIV. Undetectable = Untransmittable.
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… Why it’s important to have your viral load checked ‘Viral load’ refers to the amount of virus in the blood. It is measured by a simple blood test which also shows how well antiretroviral treatment is working at protecting your immune system from other potential illnesses.
An ‘undetectable’ diagnosis means that the level of HIV in your body is so low (under 40 copies/ml) that it is non-infectious to other people. You might also hear healthcare workers talking about ‘viral suppression’ (where HIV levels are under 200 copies/ml) - if you have had either of these diagnoses then there is zero risk of you passing on HIV. It usually takes the body a while to adjust to new medicines, and the same goes for HIV treatment.
Simply being on treatment doesn’t automatically mean that you’re undetectable and it’s very common for viral loads to fluctuate, particularly early on after starting a new treatment regime. You might look and feel perfectly healthy, but simply feeling fine isn’t a good indicator of what your viral load looks like. The only way to know that you are undetectable is through regular viral load monitoring. It’s recommended that you should be taking treatment for at least six months, and then have your viral load monitored every 2-4 months by a healthcare professional to know that you are undetectable.
It’s important to remember that, even if you have an undetectable viral load, HIV is still present in your body. This means that if you stop taking treatment then your viral load can increase – affecting your long-term health and making HIV transmittable again. Can everyone living with HIV achieve an undetectable viral load? Not everyone living with HIV can achieve an undetectable viral load and this is usually down to factors out of someone’s control. For some people, it might be tricky to find a treatment regime that agrees with them.
While in some places, viral load testing may not always be readily available. If this is the case for you, it’s essential that you still take your medication exactly as prescribed and that you keep regular appointments with your doctor. While you may not be ‘undetectable’, you can still remain healthy.
If you’re not sure about your viral load status then there are still other ways to reduce the risk of HIV transmission among your sexual partners. Your partners may want to consider taking to keep themselves HIV-negative. Using will prevent both HIV transmission and other . If you aren’t able to get your viral load monitored regularly, it’s important not to assume that you are undetectable. I’m ‘undetectable’, what does this mean for me?
Of course, if you are able to remain undetectable under the correct treatment and monitoring pattern, the great news is that you don’t have to worry about passing HIV onto your sexual partners! Being undetectable also means that your body is in good health and that your immune system is working well at defending itself from daily germs. Maintaining your treatment and monitoring routine is key to remaining undetectable, but is also a good way to ensure that you stay healthy.
can be a tricky conversation to have, but you might want to explain what ‘undetectable’ means to your sexual partners as it can help to put their mind at ease as well as yours. Having this discussion may impact your decision to stop using condoms as your main form of protection during sex. However, it’s still a good idea to speak to your doctor or health professional before changing your protection routine. You should also keep in mind that while being undetectable stops the transmission of HIV it doesn’t stop unwanted pregnancies or the transmission of other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
What does ‘undetectable’ mean if you are HIV negative? If you're HIV-negative and your current sexual partner is living with HIV and has an undetectable viral load, then there is no risk of sexual transmission of HIV. You and your partner might decide to stop using condoms, but you should never feel pressured into changing your existing protection routine if it’s one that works for you.
You may actually find it reassuring to take control over your own sexual health and wellbeing. Even if your partner is undetectable, condoms are still the only form of protection that also prevent other STIs and unwanted pregnancies. You may also want to look into as an extra precaution against HIV. Whatever decision you make about protection, it is still best to regularly to check that your status remains negative.
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U=U Campaign HIV Undetectable What does HIV undetectable mean? Can I get HIV from someone undetectable? What is the risk of sex with someone undetectable? WHAT DOES UNDETECTABLE EVEN MEAN? It means that the traces of the virus are so low that modern medical “tests can not find” HIV. It does not mean cured. It means not detectable.
A viral load test is a lab test that measures the number of HIV virus particles in a milliliter of your blood. These particles are called “copies.” So, when someone says that they are undetectable, it literally means that they have reached a point of which their virus is not detectable by modern lab tests and they are not going to transmit HIV to sexual partner.
OK. WHAT IS A VIRAL LOAD? According to , “The term “viral load” refers to the amount of HIV in a sample of your blood. When your viral load is high, you have more HIV in your body, and that means your immune system is not fighting HIV as well.” SO, SOMEONE THAT TAKES MEDICINE SHOULD BE UNDETECTABLE?
Yes, that is the goal of taking medicine called: antiretroviral therapy (ART – treatment with HIV medicines). Those living with HIV take this medicine to control the virus.
Now, there are times that treatment failure happens for a small number of individuals living with HIV– but they are generally switched to an different drug to help reach that controlled viral load. It takes time to reach that undetectable result– experts say at least 6 months of undetectable levels is important.
However, there is an almost immediate reduction in the viral load and infectiousness of someone as soon as they begin therapy. CAN YOU GET HIV FROM SOMEONE THAT IS UNDETECTABLE? First, we have no confirmed transmissions of HIV from someone undetectable to another person during sex in the history of the epidemic. Not one. As of August 10, 2016, : “HIV /AIDS experts from the U.S., Australia, Denmark and Switzerland–including Dr.
Demetre Daskalakis, Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of HIV/AIDS at the New York City Health Department — endorsed a consensus statement concluding “negligible risk” of HIV transmission from a person with HIV who is on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and has had a consistently undetectable viral load for six months and beyond.” Dr.
Myron Cohen, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UNC School of Medicine and the Principal Investigator of HPTN 052 the first landmark clinical study on the subject said, “I’m pleased that Dr. Daskalakis and the NYC Health Department joined the consensus on the dual benefits of early treatment to protect the health of people with HIV and prevent HIV transmission to their sexual partners.
We hope that bringing the leading experts together will clear up mixed messages about the subject”. Here’s the consensus statement: People living with HIV on [antiretroviral therapy] 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.
The consensus statement was endorsed by principal investigators and experts from each of the leading studies that examined this issue included Dr. Jens Lundgren (PARTNER study; University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Dr. Andrew Grulich (Opposites Attract study; University of New South Wales, Australia); and Dr. Pietro Vernazza (PARTNER study; Swiss statement; Cantonal Hospital,St. Gallen, Switzerland). But, there are many other choices you can make as well to remain HIV negative including using condoms correctly EVERY SINGLE TIME you have sex, taking , and/or choosing other activities instead of sex.
There are always new national and international organizations signing the consensus statement including UNAIDS during IAS 2017. To read the most accurate list of signees and supporters, visit Prevention Access Campaign’s website. Finally, website information from major health information websites like Healthline.com may have outdated or information not consistent with the lastest science, these publications are generally medically reviewed by physicians that may not be specialists in the field of HIV and research.
Always note the published date on these articles and feel free to ask me questions about any article that may be outdated. IF I HAVE SEX WITH SOMEONE UNDETECTABLE AND I AM NEGATIVE, WILL I STILL BE NEGATIVE AFTER HAVING SEX WITH THEM? If they are undetectable for six months on meds, they are not infectious and are not a real risk of transmission to you during sex.
*I am not a doctor or medical expert, however, this content is accredited as being health accurate by a third-party. . Resources: , POZ.com Released 08.12.2016. Accessed 08.15.2016. , NIAID.NIH.gov Released 07.20.2016. Accessed 08.15.2016. , POZ.com Released 07.26.2014.
Accessed 08.15.2016. , POZ.com Released 03.05.2014. Accessed 08.15.2016. , imstilljosh.com Released 04.30.2014. Access 08.15.2016. ————— Disclaimer: The information provided on imstilljosh.com is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own physician.
This website is not intended for those under the age of 13. Also, guest contributors to this website are not paid, and unless otherwise noted, are not considered experts in their field.
They are volunteers. HIV Stories / Symptoms HIV Stories / Symptoms Josh Robbins publishes this popular HIV blog as a hub for his social media activity and activism. Think of this space as a gathering place for all the conversations he has all over social media. Please remember, Josh is not a doctor, therapist and can't make individual health recommendations for you. This blog is award-winning, health accurate, and nationally mentioned by leading national media outlets including: ABC News, Yahoo!, Huffington Post, MSlisaSays.com, Healthline, MTV Voices, Staying Alive Campaign, Tennessee Department of Health and more.
But, Josh is NOT a physician. This blog is also an independent voice of Josh Robbins. It is not owned by any pharma or health company. - This site complies with the information:
What Dating Is Like When You’re HIV-Positive