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Does undetectable virual load mean no need for condom?
Dec 19, 2000

If someone is given treatment to the point that the virus cannot be detected, does this mean it is safe to have intercourse without a condom?

Response from Mr. Kull

No one is sure yet. There has been research that suggests an undetectable viral load in blood does not correlate with levels of virus in semen. Some theories suggest that HIV compartmentalizes, meaning that it replicates in specific areas of the body and may remain unaffected by certain antiviral treatments. So you could have an undetectable viral load in your blood but still have high enough levels of virus in semen to infect another person. On the other hand, recent studies in Africa have shown that having a very low or undetectable viral load in blood significantly decreases the odds of infecting a sexual partner. So the answer to your question is unclear at the moment and condom use is still recommended regardless of viral load.

RMK



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