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Getting to Undetectable: People Living With HIV Share Their Stories

April 12, 2013


Minister Rob Newells

Minister Rob Newells

Oakland, Calif.; Diagnosed in 2005

Reaching undetectable never seemed like a significant milestone to me. I waited for my CD4-cell count to drop below 400 (about 18 months after my initial diagnosis) before I made the decision to begin antiretroviral therapy. My viral load, which was never extremely high, has been undetectable on every test since I started HIV meds in 2006.

For a long time, I thought viral suppression was a normal result of taking the medications. I expected nothing less. The HIV treatment cascade was a visual wake-up call that I am in the 25 percent minority. Clearly, we have much more work to do to increase retention in care and adherence to the medications that both improve the health of people living with HIV/AIDS and help to prevent transmission of the virus.

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