• Does My HIV-Positive Partner’s Viral Load Affect My Risk of Getting HIV?

Yes, as an HIV-positive person’s viral load goes down, the chance of transmitting HIV goes down. Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood of someone who is HIV-positive. When the viral load is very low, it is called viral suppression. Undetectable viral load is when the amount of HIV in the blood is so low that it cannot be measured.

In general, the higher someone’s viral load, the more likely that person is to transmit HIV. People with HIV who are in care and taking HIV medicines can reach undetectable viral load. When people reach and maintain undetectable viral load levels, the virus cannot be transmitted sexually. Undetectable = Untransmittable.

If you are HIV-positive, getting into care and taking HIV medicines (called antiretroviral therapy or ART) the right way, every day will give you the greatest chance to get and stay virally suppressed, live a longer, healthier life and reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to your partners.

If you are HIV-negative and have an HIV-positive partner, encourage your partner to get into care and take HIV treatment medicines. You can also take other actions, like using a condom the right way every time you have sex or taking daily medicine to prevent HIV (called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP)  to lower your chances of getting HIV.

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