Wednesday 12 July 2017
The British HIV Association (BHIVA), today announces its endorsement for the ‘Undetectable Equals Untransmittable’ (U=U) Consensus Statement produced by the Prevention Access Campaign.
BHIVA Chair, Professor Chloe Orkin, said: “As the UK’s leading voice for HIV health professionals, our backing for U=U is unequivocal. There should be no doubt about the clear and simple message that a person with sustained, undetectable levels of HIV virus in their blood cannot transmit HIV to their sexual partners.
“This fact is a testament to the preventive impact of effective HIV treatment and highlights the need to maximise access to treatment in order to minimise and ultimately eradicate HIV transmission. Spreading the U=U message is also an important way to help reduce the stigma experienced by people living with HIV, whose sexual partners may fear infection unnecessarily.”
The U=U statement is based on evidence from the PARTNER study (published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 12 July 2016).
For further information, please contact Jo Josh: +44 (0) 7787 530 922
Notes for editors
1. The U=U consensus statement reads:
People living with HIV on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) 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.
Since the BHIVA statement endorsing U=U was published in July 2017 the Prevention Access website added the following note on 1/10/18:
The term "negligible" is not effective in public health messaging to describe the risk of HIV sexual transmission when a person with HIV has an undetectable viral load and is taking ART as prescribed. "Negligible" is often misconstrued as still a risk to take into consideration in sexual and reproductive health decisions. Please see the messaging guide with examples of the words used in public health messaging to convey the risk including "effectively no risk", "cannot transmit" and "do not transmit." It is imperative that language instill confidence rather promote unnecessary fear about sexual transmission when a person with HIV has an undetectable viral load and is taking ART as prescribed.
3. Condoms, STIs and pregnancy:
An undetectable HIV viral load only prevents HIV transmission to sexual partners. Condoms also help prevent HIV transmission as well as other STIs and pregnancy. The choice of HIV prevention method may be different depending upon a person’s sexual practices, circumstances and relationships. For instance, if someone is having sex with multiple partners or in a non-monogamous relationship, they might consider using condoms to prevent other STIs.
Founded in 1995, BHIVA is a well-established organisation which is committed to providing excellence in the care of those living with and affected by HIV. It acts as a national advisory body to professions and other organisations on all aspects of HIV care. BHIVA also provides a national platform for HIV care and contributes representatives for international, national and local committees dealing with HIV care. In addition, BHIVA works to promote undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education within HIV care. www.bhiva.org @BritishHIVAssoc
About Prevention Access Campaign
Prevention Access Campaign is a multi-agency health equity initiative to end the dual epidemics of HIV and HIV-related stigma by expanding access to HIV prevention and empowering people with and vulnerable to HIV with accurate and meaningful information about their social, sexual, and reproductive health. Prevention Access Campaign's Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) is a community of HIV advocates, activists, researchers, and Community Partners around the world uniting to clarify and disseminate the revolutionary but largely unknown fact that people living with HIV on effective treatment do not sexually transmit HIV.