The fight against HIV and AIDS has over the years recorded major breakthroughs which have saved millions of lives. One important breakthrough was the scientific development of potent and relatively safer antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). These drugs which are now readily available in many health centers have enabled many people to live long and heathy lives.
If you or someone you know is living with HIV and are taking ARVs daily, it’s possible to achieve Undetectable or Untransmittable (U=U) status. This means that the amount of HIV in the body will be so low that it won’t be harmful to you and you won’t be able to pass it onto others.
Just like any chronic condition, even if you are diagnosed with HIV, you can live a long, healthy life by taking your treatment every day, as prescribed. A healthcare worker will give you a viral load blood test to find out if you are U=U. When you reach U=U, you must keep taking your ARVs every day to stay Undetectable = Untransmittable. Because you are still HIV+, you should continue to use a condom to prevent other STIs and unplanned pregnancy. It is possible to lose U=U if you stop taking your ARVs or do not take them as prescribed.
By taking your ARVs every day and achieving viral load suppression (Undetectable), you can:
-Live a long and healthy life.
-Have a strong body to fight illness.
-Look and feel great.
-When you are stable on treatment, clinic visits are drastically reduced.
-You gain the privilege of collecting your medication at convenient pick-up points without visiting the clinic.
-Not pass HIV onto others.
U=U is not just about suppressing the virus; it is about enjoying life more and worrying less about HIV holding you back. With the right treatment and care, people living with HIV can live full lives while contributing to ending the spreading of HIV. The more you ARV, the less you HIV.
For more on U=U go to your nearest clinic or visit uequalsu.co.za