The dream of being 'undetectable'

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    Jan 29, 2015 3:56 AM GMT
    It's hard to express to someone who is negative what a great feeling being undetectable is. It is the opposite of living in fear of getting HIV. More than that, it's the realization that I'm part of a world wide goal. Initially it was a selfish goal, I worried about my health. I just went along with what my Dr. said was best. As it turns out Kaiser has been ahead of the game for ages, in terms of research and leading edge care. Other Doctors, now, are doing what my doctor did years ago: early therapy with high T-cells. ASAP. No lingering till they start to fall, do it NOW. The healthier you start the better you will be able to handle the minor side effects.

    The meds alone in 1996 was called Breakthrough of the Year: New Weapons Against HIV


    http://news.sciencemag.org/1996/12/breakthrough-year-new-weapons-against-hiv

    Treatment as Prevention again was hailed as 2011 Breakthrough of the Year - See more at: http://janelangille.com/2011-breakthrough-hiv-treatment-as-prevention/#sthash.nQn8w9fC.dpuf

    For many in Africa it's a dream, but an attainable one more and more.
    "Once the laboratory staff have performed the tests, the results are emailed to the person in charge of the laboratory at the hospital. When the blank boxes that indicate 'ND' (target not detected) appear on the screen, it is the best news an HIV-positive patient can receive.

    It means their treatment is working well and their viral load remains undetectable. Not only will they not acquire opportunistic diseases such as tuberculosis, meningitis or infections, but also the risk of them spreading the disease to others is reduced by 96%.

    Side note: However, the single transmission in the immediate treatment arm of the study occurred shortly after the positive partner had been started on therapy, at a time when the viral load could not yet have been suppressed. Therefore, while the bottom line of the study was that ART reduced the risk of transmission by 96%, having an undetectable viral load appears to have been 100% effective.

    http://hivforum.tumblr.com/page/3


    "Everyone wants to be undetectable," says Dr Villen. "Many patients are proud to be so, because that means that besides their own health being good, the whole community's is too because there is less risk of transmission of the disease. Women can plan their pregnancies and prevent their babies being born with the virus.""

    http://allafrica.com/stories/201501281237.html


    undetectable12015_zps26c8ac1c.jpg
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    Jan 29, 2015 10:08 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidCongrats, Tim.

    So does this mean your testing facility considers anything less than twenty copies per ml of blood measure to be undetectable?

    Years ago it was anything under 200 copies was considered undetectable, then it went to less than 100. Then less than 50, then less than 40. Now less than 20 is considered the new standard for undetectability. This was a according to my HIV care team.

    I'm considered undetectable by less than twenty copies as of four months ago and go next month for a checkup.


    I should know that! But I'm not sure. After all these years I've never asked.
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    Jan 29, 2015 2:02 PM GMT
    congrats , i knew of less then 40 but the new less then 20 doesn't surprise me
    tests get better ll the time
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    Jan 29, 2015 7:33 PM GMT
    thorn27 saidcongrats , i knew of less then 40 but the new less then 20 doesn't surprise me
    tests get better ll the time


    I was sort of unaware of the whole undetectable thing for years. I just did the cocktail as told! And it worked great.....other than Crixivan (kidney stones and crix shits) and Sustiva (vivid dreams! BS it was more like dropping acid!)

    Now, no problems at all. For all you newbies on TasP, say "Thank You!" I had been the guinea pigs for decades before you got the "safe" stuff LOL.
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    Jan 30, 2015 2:42 AM GMT
    I know I could just google it but, for the sake of a forum, what does it mean to be undetectable? If the number has changed over time for what it means to have that status, I mean. Has it always meant that the viral load is so low there's no risk of transmission?
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    Jan 30, 2015 6:56 AM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle said
    Animus saidI know I could just google it but, for the sake of a forum, what does it mean to be undetectable? If the number has changed over time for what it means to have that status, I mean. Has it always meant that the viral load is so low there's no risk of transmission?


    To be undetectable means that per ml of blood the amount of HIV viral copies falls under a certain number. The most recent standard now seems to be less than twenty copies. A person with HIV who is not on medication to suppress the virus can have a viral load in the millions. A person with a viral load this high is considered highly infectious.

    HIV is mainly being spread by people who don't know they are HIV+. Since they're not on treatment their viral loads can be quite high.

    We can't say that there is absolutely no risk of transmission of getting HIV from someone whose viral load is undetectable. But the likelihood is much lower compared to someone who isn't taking med to suppress the virus. Hope this answers your question.


    Well that certainly makes some sense, especially on the high viral loads.

    But here's my question and I'm not trying to be snarky or rude, just a genuine curious question.

    For those of you who are undetectable, does this mean you'd prefer to bareback with a guy or would you still be willing to use condoms if your partner wanted that?

    Again, it's just a genuine question.
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    Jan 30, 2015 10:42 AM GMT
    being undetectable has nothing to do with bb or using condoms, it means you are as healthy as you can be with the aid of meds, compared to those who don't have the virus
    it means you have less risk of infecting somebody else, undetectable makes that a almost 0 chance of passing on

    it doesn't make a difference to somebody who doesn't know about hiv whether you are undetectable or not, they just know you have hiv
    and thats scary , to them

    if you want to bb its a mutual agreement between the 2 of you
    if the other guy wants house condoms because of your hiv , then by all means do use them
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    Jan 30, 2015 7:38 PM GMT
    thorn27 saidbeing undetectable has nothing to do with bb or using condoms, it means you are as healthy as you can be with the aid of meds, compared to those who don't have the virus
    it means you have less risk of infecting somebody else, undetectable makes that a almost 0 chance of passing on

    it doesn't make a difference to somebody who doesn't know about hiv whether you are undetectable or not, they just know you have hiv
    and thats scary , to them

    if you want to bb its a mutual agreement between the 2 of you
    if the other guy wants house condoms because of your hiv , then by all means do use them


    Well said.