There is no definitive answer to this question, as the risk of getting HIV from an undetectable individual is challenging to estimate. However, the chance of getting HIV from an undetectable patient is minimal. In fact, there is only a slim probability that an individual who is undetectable will transmit HIV to another person.
HIV Undetectable Meaning
Generally speaking, HIV is “undetectable” when the amount of the virus in a person’s blood is so low that standard tests cannot detect it.
HIV “undetectable” means that the individual’s HIV viral load is below the level at which standard testing methods can detect seroconversion (fewer than 50 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood (<50 copies/mL). The amount of HIV in your body fluids is called viral load.
Effective HIV treatment can suppress HIV in your body fluids where standard tests can no longer detect any HIV, or can only find tiny traces of it.
It is a significant milestone in the fight against HIV and indicates that the individual has lessened levels of HIV in their blood. However, you will still need continued monitoring to ensure that your viral load is at a safe volume. Antiretroviral therapy can help maintain an HIV status.
Note: The definition of “undetectable” can vary from one lab to another, and there is no single point at which a person can be considered HIV-free.
What Does HIV-Positive Mean?
HIV positive means that an individual has contracted HIV, which causes AIDS. You can get HIV through contact with blood, semen, or other body fluids from an infected person. AIDS is a severe and often deadly condition caused by HIV.
There is no definitive way to know if you are HIV positive without the help of your professional healthcare provider, as the virus can remain undetected for years in some people. HIV testing is the only way to confirm the presence of the virus and determine your risk of developing AIDS.
If you are HIV-positive, you may start to experience these symptoms slowly:
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Sore throat
- Mouth sores
- Swollen lymph glands
- Weight loss
Can it be transmitted if its undetectable?
No, having an undetectable status means that there is not enough virus in your body fluids, such as blood or semen, to pass HIV to other people. In other words, you are not infectious.
For as long as your viral load stays undetectable, your chance of passing on HIV to a sexual partner is zero.
Even though you are at low risk for HIV if your partner has an undetectable viral load, you should still consider taking PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) to make you safer from getting the virus. PrEP can be up to 99% effective at preventing transmission when taken as prescribed by your doctor.