“With U=U, HIV treatment has transformed the HIV prevention landscape.” World Health Organization (WHO)
“U=U is the foundation for being able to end the epidemic.” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
“U=U sets us free.” Maria Mejia, International HIV Activist
Prevention Access Campaign (PAC) and partners launched the U=U campaign in 2016 to build and communicate a consensus about the largely unknown fact: people living with HIV who are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load cannot sexually transmit HIV. Today, U=U is a thriving and growing community-led movement of HIV advocates, activists, researchers, and over 1,050 Community Partners from 105 countries. Together, we are changing what it means to live and love with HIV around the world.
PAC’s mission is to end the dual epidemics of HIV and HIV-related stigma by empowering people living with HIV with accurate and meaningful information about their social, sexual, and reproductive health. Our vision is that U=U will become common knowledge and that all people living with HIV will have access to the care and treatment to achieve it. We envision a world where all people with HIV can live full and healthy lives without the fear of transmitting HIV.
What is U=U?
When people living with HIV are on effective treatment, it will suppress the virus in the blood to a level that is too low to be measured by lab tests. This is called having an undetectable viral load.
When people living with HIV are on treatment and have an undetectable viral load, they protect their own health and they can’t transmit HIV to their sexual partners. Their HIV is untransmittable.
PAC and our partners coined the phrase Undetectable = Untransmittable, or U=U, to describe this scientific concept and the campaign to promote it.
For more information about U=U see our FAQs.
Why is U=U important?
The U=U message is an unprecedented opportunity to transform the lives of millions of people living with and affected by HIV and to radically transform the field:
Transforms the social, sexual, and reproductive lives of people living with HIV by freeing them from the shame and fear of sexual transmission to their partners.
Dismantles the HIV stigma that has been destroying lives and impeding progress in the field since the beginning of the epidemic.
Reduces the anxiety associated with testing, and encourages people living with HIV to stay on treatment to stay healthy and prevent transmission.
Offers a public health argument to increase access and remove barriers to treatment, care, and diagnostics to save lives and prevent new transmissions.
Why Isn’t U=U Widely Known Yet?
U=U is radically at odds with the established ways of thinking. Shifts in attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors take time, especially in medicine and public health and especially considering the unprecedented trauma of the AIDS epidemic.
After decades of deeply ingrained and often exaggerated fears of HIV, it may be difficult to accept that people living with HIV can pose no risk to their sexual partners, even without condoms, and can conceive children without alternative and costly means of insemination. Stigma and judgment about sex and people associated with HIV remain a barrier. While it is unethical for healthcare workers and other information providers to serve as gatekeepers of vital health information, a longstanding history of paternalism in public health has stripped agency from people living with HIV, especially marginalized communities.
Prevention Access Campaigns and partners are changing that worldwide. We believe that all people living with HIV have a right to accurate and meaningful information about their social, sexual, and reproductive health that is based on science, not stigma.