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UNDETECTABLE VIRAL LOAD [+U]

An undetectable viral load is when the amount of HIV in a person’s blood (viral load) is no longer able to be detected by a standard viral load test for HIV. The latest results from the PARTNER trial show that when somebody is undetectable, the chance of HIV being transmitted during unprotected anal sex is extremely low.

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The top line results of the PARTNER trial showed zero HIV transmissions in 22,000 occasions of sex between gay male couples where the HIV infected partner had an undetectable viral load.

Despite zero transmissions recorded thus far, the study authors estimate that the annual HIV transmission risk for couples, where one partner is positive and the other is negative, might be as high as 1% where the HIV negative partner is the top and 2.7% where the HIV negative partner is the bottom.

While having an undetectable viral load drastically reduces the risk of HIV transmission, it will not protect from acquisition or transmission of other STIs like syphilis or gonorrhoea. Because of this, it's a good idea to keep condoms in the mix with casual partners and to have a regular sexual health check-up.

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