Can someone who is HIV positive not infect someone else while on meds?

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    Apr 13, 2013 11:35 PM GMT
    I was out for lunch today with some friends and one of them said that if a guy is HIV postive but it's on meds then his viral load could be low enough so that he doesn't transmit it to other people.

    Is that true?

    [Pardon my ignorance icon_redface.gif ]
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    Apr 14, 2013 12:12 AM GMT
    yourname2000 saidI've read the same....a guy with an undetectable viral load can in theory pass the virus, but proven cases are difficult to find. I've also heard that today's treatment so cripples any virus remaining that it's virtually impotent.

    Still, "theory" and "virtually" aren't reassuring enough for me that I'd forgo the condom....but it does mean (to me) that playing safe with a HIV+ guy is possible, and I've heard of tons of examples of mixed partners (one pos, one neg) keeping their status the same for their entire relationships.


    Yeah, of course it's stupid to risk it by not playing safe is just that I didn't know that theoritically an HIV positive guy doesn't necesarilly transmit the virus. Actually what we were talking about is that if there's a mixed couple it is more dangerous for the HIV negative guy to get infected if he goes out and randomly hooks up with someone else since the positive one (apart from protection) is already on a cocktail that has his viral load low enough so that he can't infect the other one while the one night stand could be HIV positive without knowing and transmit it due to his viral load.
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    Apr 14, 2013 1:23 AM GMT
    No, that's actually a load of crap.

    Yes you can still infect someone.

    A report that came out a few years ago made a bold claim about it.

    From what I remember it was with serodiscordant heterosexual couples.

    The individual had to follow a strict program for his medication with regular checkups

    And the virus could at any stage bounce back.

    While low viral load did decrease the chances of HIV exposure it did not remove any possibility. It was "100%" fool proof.

    Also it's not 100% that the person is carrying an undetectable viral load at all times since many things can have an effect both internally and externally hell even a cold can send your viral numbers up due to the immune system not being able to fight off both the HIV virus and the cold virus at the same time effectively.

    Which presents a problem. How do you know that at every stage someone is undetectable.

    Interestingly though I've noticed on places like scruff and man hunt that a lot of guys have become more comfortable telling the public at large that they are positive for HIV. However this is always quickly backed up with "undetected viral load". Even more interestingly via conversations with people it seems to help decrease or remove a lot of the stigma that people with HIV experience.

    Then with the increase in articles being published about people with undetected viral loads and safe sex and the likely hood of someone being infected being decreased it seems that people are taking this to mean that they can't be infected when the actual facts come back as unknown. Science hasn't fully come to a conclusion yet but people are twisting the facts to mean they can have unprotected sex and every one is safe which the articles that are worth reading don't say, they just say there is a decreased chance.

    Just like wearing a rubber doesn't stop any chance of you contracting HIV but it does decrease the risk.

    In other words, wear a condom, practice safe sex, know your partners (ie, more then just their last name) and think of peoples health as well as your own.
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    Apr 15, 2013 3:57 AM GMT
    No no. Of course (at least in my case) I will always have safe sex, it was just something that kinda surprised me tho.
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    Jun 25, 2013 1:08 AM GMT
    Apparently now there are some pills that people take to reduce the chances to get HIV when barebacking icon_confused.gif.

    Call me old fashioned but I wouldn't risk it.
  • thatirishbast...

    Posts: 3523

    Jun 25, 2013 1:24 AM GMT
    No, it's not foolproof.

    Yes, meds lower the risk of infection, often drastically. IF they are taken regularly and correctly. HIV is not the easiest thing to catch, and a great majority of infections occur when the positive partner either has no idea he's positive or is not on any regular medication.

    If someone has truly undetectable virus loads, then the chance of catching HIV is theoretical. It could happen if circumstances were exactly right, but actual cases of it are disputed or non-existant. It takes a certain amount of the virus to transfer between individuals. HOWEVER, you can never be totally sure that someone is undetectable at the moment he sticks it in you. So why not slide a condom on?

    However, if you are that 0.01 percent who catches HIV when all the statistics put the odds in your favour, then all those statistics don't do you a stitch of good.

    The medications we have for HIV are astounding considering how little time has passed for them to be developed, but their primary purpose is to keep infected individuals alive and healthy, not to be an excuse for unsafe behaviour.

    The best preventative there is is good judgement, and there's no replacement for it.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a health professional, merely parroting what health professionals have related back to me.
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    Jun 25, 2013 1:30 AM GMT
    Marsu saidI was out for lunch today with some friends and one of them said that if a guy is HIV postive but it's on meds then his viral load could be low enough so that he doesn't transmit it to other people.

    Is that true?

    No, it is not true. All persons who are HIV+ may infect others.

    What varies is the likelihood of infection, dependent upon viral load. Sometimes the viral load is very low, termed undetectable. But the virus is still present.

    Do you want to play that kind of Russian roulette with a guy, who claims he's undetectable? And undetectable WHEN? Was he undetectable today, or a month ago? What's happened in the meantime? The viral load constantly fluctuates.

    And you only have his word for it, right? Or did you speak with his doctor today, who checked him today?

    Unless you did, "undetectable" is bullshit, just what some guy is telling you. You wanna risk your life on that?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 25, 2013 1:32 AM GMT
    I know many of You dislike Me.

    But I burried more than 100 of My friends.

    My first ex-Husband #1 succombed to the virus.

    I am about to turn 45.

    154 BoyFriends.

    3 Husbands.

    A little over 600 Guys that I dated.

    I am hiv NEGATIVE.

    NEGATIVE.

    I protected MYSELF.

    Don't take risks Boys.


    We may actually see a vaccine and cure in Our lifetime -- something I once thought was IMPOSSIBLE.

    BUT --- until WE DO...PLEASE GUYS...don't risk ANYTHING.

    PLEASE.


    Please.


    Please.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 25, 2013 1:35 AM GMT
    why even chance it
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    Jun 25, 2013 1:41 AM GMT
    A medicine called Truvada was recently approved as a transmission preventative. Taking Truvada apparently is as effective as a condom. So I've heard.
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    Jun 25, 2013 1:43 AM GMT
    It significantly reduces the risk but there haven't been studies with male-male sero-discordant couples, and it is easier to transmit through anal sex than vaginal so I would guess that, if there is such a study, there will be some seroconversions among the study's participants.
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Jun 25, 2013 1:56 AM GMT

    "Undetectable" is a phrase that most doctors use with patients to show that medication is doing what it is designed to do....disrupt the HIV replication cycle and bring the level of virus in the blood down...

    The "undetectable" threshold is different depending on the sensitivity of the test. It also should be noted that most HIV harbors itself chronically in the gut and most tests are run through blood draws from the arm...

    the importance of understanding this note is to draw an analogy of dipping a bucket into a lake for minnows and if the bucket came up with only water coming to a conclusion that there are no fish in the lake...well, that may be true...but maybe there are no fish in that area...and all the other conclusions that can implied.

    I understand that "undetectable" is a way to communicate where we are at in our treatment and perhaps our health...but it is relative information and much more conversation about adherence, risk around behaviors, etc. might also assist us in true risk assessment.

    The only non-risky behavior is to not have sex or play with yourself - everything else is going to start creating a pile of unknowns. It is up to each one of us to ascertain how comfortable we feel with those unknowns before we move forward.

    - David icon_wink.gif
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    Jun 25, 2013 1:57 AM GMT
    JimiB saidA medicine called Truvada was recently approved as a transmission preventative. Taking Truvada apparently is as effective as a condom. So I've heard.

    You heard wrong. And spreading such misinformation is harmful.