People walking together.

The power of undetectable.

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Model portrayal above

What does undetectable mean?

A major goal of HIV treatment is getting your viral load to undetectable. Undetectable means that there is so little virus in the blood that a lab test can't measure it. If you have questions about your lab results, talk with your healthcare provider.

For many people living with HIV, getting to an undetectable viral load is a key step in their treatment journey. But starting and sticking with treatment is the only way to get there. And reaching that milestone can provide important health benefits for you and others within the community. So, stick with it to help you stay on track and be proud that you are taking steps to manage your HIV.

Terms you may hear

We have defined some key terms that might be helpful to know as you are starting and sticking with treatment.

HIV: Treat to prevent

If you’re living with HIV, you may wonder: What does HIV treatment actually do for me?


A lot.

And it all starts with less virus in your body.

Left untreated, the amount of HIV in your body—your viral load—goes up.

Taking HIV treatment helps bring it down. And sticking with treatment helps keep it down. It can get so low, it can’t be measured by a test.

That’s undetectable.

You still have HIV, but there’s a lot less of it causing damage in your body.

And that’s a good thing, for you, your health, and your partners.

See, taking HIV treatment every day helps you get to and stay undetectable. And according to current research, that prevents the spread of HIV through sex.

It’s called treatment as prevention.

But think of it as treat to prevent. It’s a big deal.

But being undetectable doesn’t prevent other sexually transmitted infections.

So be safe. And use condoms.

Questions? Talk to a healthcare provider.

There’s no cure for HIV. But starting treatment as soon as possible, and sticking with it, is something good you can do for your health and the health of others.

And that helps ... stop the virus.

Treat to prevent

Current research shows that taking HIV treatment as prescribed and getting to an undetectable viral load and staying undetectable prevents transmitting HIV to others through sex. Other ways to say that are U=U (undetectable=untransmittable) or TasP (treatment as prevention).

HIV: Treat to prevent

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Why is U=U important?

It helps destigmatize living with HIV, spreads awareness that today's medications can be effective, and reminds people of the importance of continuing to take treatment as prescribed. It also helps send an empowering message that HIV does not have to stop you from living a longer and healthier life.