​Post submitted by Noël Gordon, former HRC Senior Program Specialist for HIV Prevention and Health Equity.

Did you know that, with proper treatment, a person living with HIV can have an “undetectable viral load?” According to AIDS.gov and the Department of Health & Human Services:

When healthcare providers discuss "viral load," they are talking about the level of HIV in [a person’s] blood. Knowing your viral load [if you are HIV-positive] helps your provider to monitor [the] disease, and determine whether or not your HIV medications are working once you begin taking them.

The goal of HIV treatment [if you are HIV-positive] is to help move your viral load down to “undetectable” levels. Studies have found that having a low [or undetectable] viral load greatly decreases the risk that you will pass HIV to someone else through sexual contact.

Having an “undetectable viral load” means that an HIV-positive person is maintaining a healthy life through treatment. But having a low viral load does not guarantee that you will not transmit HIV to someone else. HHS recommends taking additional steps to prevent HIV transmission, even when your viral load is undetectable.


This Friday, September 27, is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. All week, HRC is highlighting important facts about HIV/AIDS with daily social graphics to help promote awareness as part of its #BeintheKnow campaign. Stay tuned to the HRC blog for more graphics and guest blog posts from organizations that have long been leaders in the fight against HIV/AIDS and the stigma that can accompany it.

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