Adam Dupuis's picture

Undetectable = Untransmittable : Why Are People Not Getting the Message?

HIV+ people with undetectable viral loads cannot transmit HIV. This is medical fact.  So why do so many people refuse to believe the science?

Since I have been having sex, a condom was what we were all supposed to use, not just to prevent pregnancy (Gold Star gay here), but to protect ourselves from multiple diseases, viruses, etc.  But ever since we've been shown how to roll that condom over the banana, we've also been told that condoms are 99% effective, never 100%, nothing is 100%, except for abstinence, of course.

Fast-forward from that projector with accompanying cassette tape in 6th grade science class to now, in 2018, when HIV- people are enjoying sex with HIV+ people without condoms and without fear of contracting HIV. The medical community is telling us that having sex with someone who is HIV positive, who is on daily treatment, and who is undetectable, is some of the safest sex you can have.

Dean Arcuri speaks to Craig Burnett, who is living with HIV and David Kernahan, the CEO of the WA Aids Council asking, if the scientific evidence is clear, that someone living with HIV who is undetectable does not pose an infection risk to their sexual partners, why are we not getting the message?

My doctors [mentioned] that being on treatment made it unlikely for me to transmit HIV through sex, even without a condom. This was excellent news.

When I was diagnosed, I didn’t have sex for three months out of fear of transmitting the virus. However, there were only preliminary studies and only doctors knew about them. There was a lot of stigma I still faced. -

You can listen to the podcast on iTunes or on .

Craig Burnett, who found out when he was giving blood at the age og 19 that he was HIV+, also opened up to say that 'sex is still complicated with undetectable viral load.'

A lot of people who found out I was living with HIV would not have sex with me, even with a condom on. They also flat out refused to believe any of the studies I quoted and would retort with saying I was just lying so I could sleep with them.

As much as the science behind treatment as prevention was developing, the social understanding of living with HIV was very far behind. This put a strain on my relationships and I found it hard to have a partner for more than a few months.

When I finally had my first long term relationship, treatment as prevention was starting to be talked about in the community. I saw it as a way for me to protect my partner and my partner felt the same way. Although I no longer have a partner, I still see my treatment as me protecting my sexual partners and my community as a whole. -

I think I know where many of us are veering away from U=U.  Did I mention I remember growing that it was beaten into us that nothing is 100%?  Many believed that, even with a condom, sex with an HIV+ man was not safe at all ... since, well, nothing is 100%.  And I think that is where my generation is at this point with these facts, these medical truths.

Now, our generation, everyone is being told U = U and undectable is 100% safe. It may be a hard pill for some of us to swallow.

Where is your mind at on this topic?

Are you a believer of U=U?

Are you having sex with HIV+ men without condoms?

Are you still old school and using a condom with everyone?

Do you choose to use a condom with HIV+ men and not with HIV- men?

Are you on PrEP and have no worries about either + or - ?

Are you on PrEP and using condoms?



Many of us got accept that "U = U" is medically true; however:

A. We also know lots of people who've lie about their status and/or their adherence to medications.

B. We absorbed the message to always use condoms (well, no I know does for oral); and old habits die hard.

C. we have buried too many family, friends, and acquaintance who died from HIV/AIDS.

D. There are other STIs besides HIV that PrEP and other regimens do not protect against.

E. The arrogance with which people try to educate us that their non-use of condoms is okay because "U = U" is a huge turn off; at least it is to me.

F. Who anyone choses to have sex with is no one's business but their own.

Candidly, many of us worry more about people who take no take no responsibility for their own sexual behaviors and well-being.

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