Can you pass on your HIV if you have an undetectable viral load?

The chance that you will pass on your HIV when you have sexual contact is extremely slight if your viral load has been undetectable for at least half a year, as long as you comply with your therapy and as long as you have no other sexually transmitted infection (STI). This is often referred to as the ‘Swiss stance’ because Swiss researchers were the first to formulate the insight. Preventing the transmission of HIV can be a good reason to start with the HIV treatment, even if your immunity is otherwise still in good shape.

Taking other risks into consideration
Many men choose to have unprotected sex if both partners have HIV and each one has an undetectable viral load. When we discuss that, I notice fairly often that they have not always considered the risk they run of getting hepatitis C and other STIs.
Loek Elsenburg, HIV nurse

A lot more comfortable thanks to HIV medicines
Now that I am using HIV medicines, I feel a lot more comfortable since essentially I can’t infect anyone.
Sophie

Don’t want to run even a slight risk
I take my HIV medicines, but even the slight risk that I could pass on my HIV is more than I want to run.
Bas

Head in the sand
I always say: nothing is safer than having sex with someone with HIV who uses HIV medicines. Not very many people see it like that. They stick their heads in the sand and would rather have sex with somebody whose HIV status they don’t know anything about, than with me. People around me still see me as a dangerous source of infection. I’d like for that to end.
John

Virus nearly undetectable
I began using HIV medicines some months ago. My last blood test showed that my virus was nearly undetectable. Now I just have to make sure I don’t start thinking that nothing else can happen. That would not be smart.
Jan

In the article viralload and risk you can read more quotes as well as the answer to these questions:
• What if you do have another STI?
• What are the conditions for keeping the chances extremely slight?
• Why is the risk extremely low, but perhaps not nil?

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