Forbes Africa: What does it mean to be HIV-undetectable or to have a suppressed viral load?
“On August 8, 2018, a day before Women’s Day in South Africa, 23-year-old Saidy Brown observed six years of being on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. We meet Brown in her hotel room in Benoni in the East Rand in the South African Province of Gauteng. She sits still, reflecting on her life after a long and busy day. She has just returned from a group meeting with other young HIV activists.
Her t-shirt is unapologetic and as loud as her activism. “HIV POSITIVE #TEST & TREAT,” it reads. In the dim light of her room, she recollects her dark journey to becoming an HIV activist. Brown was diagnosed with HIV at birth. However, she only found out she had it at the age of 14…
Today, Brown is HIV-undetectable. She has been virally suppressed for two years now. According to a report by UNAIDS in 2018, being undetectable means that the virus is un-transmittable. This means that people who are HIV positive with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV sexually.”