Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Pediatrics/Infectious Disease


Dr. Nancy Reid, MHA, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA



Objective: This article will aim to combine the current research in the efficacy of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antiretroviral therapies (ART) for the suppression of the viral load below undetectable levels. The implications in the relationship between sustainable viral suppression to the inability to sexually transmit the HIV virus to a seronegative sexual partner will be reviewed. Ultimately, the aim will be to support the new public education initiative, “Undetectable=Untransmittable”, through data.

Method: A PubMed search was conducted using the MeSH terms “undetectable untransmittable.” Four articles with recent publication dates were identified, the earliest of which was published in January 2018. Being that these publications met the requirements of being of topic relevance, peer-reviewed, and the most recent studies available, they were selected for inclusion. Direct search for PARTNER1 (Partners of People on ART – A New Evaluation of the Risks), Opposites Attract study, and PARTNER2 publications resulted in these inclusions as vital, groundbreaking contributions. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. was included as a textbook source. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) HIV webpage was accessed for most recent statistics of disease prevalence, epidemiology, new infection rates, and the new “Undetectable=Untransmittable” campaign initiative.

Results: Demonstration of the zero probability of HIV sexual transmission when viral loads are maintained below detectable levels in serodiscordant couples is replicable in the current research.

Conclusion: Current ART medications have been shown to effectively suppress the HIV virus below levels of detection on laboratory assays. When the viral load is undetectable, research has demonstrated that there is effectively no risk of transmitting the HIV virus to seronegative sexual partners in serodiscordant couples. Therefore, evidence-based review supports the “Undetectable=Untransmittable” campaign’s accuracy. This new acknowledgement from the CDC along with preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) may offer the first viable methods of containing future spread of the HIV virus.


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