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undetectable vs positive


jakeleyman
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I notice a trend in Adam4Adam profiles for more and more people to identify their HIV status as "undetectable" where they used to show either positive or negative. I assume this is a newer option which the website offers which reflects the good effect which new drugs have on those who have tested positive. It is confusing a bit to me. I know that I must approach each partner with the assumption that I could have the virus passed to me. My question is whether a person with an undetectable status offers less risk than a person with positive status.

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My question is whether a person with an undetectable status offers less risk than a person with positive status.

 

A question more relevant to the social media dating sites is: Does a person who reports an undetectable status in his online profile offer any more or less risk than a person who reports positive, negative, or "ask me"?

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The short answer to what I believe you are asking is; yes, a person with an undetectable viral load is less infectious than a person with a high viral load. Please do not confuse less with non. Also, understand viral loads tend to be dynamic, i.e., someone may have an undetectable viral load when the blood was draw, but that does not mean it will stay that way.

 

I am retired now, but was in this field for years, both pre and post HAART, I was in a serodiscordant relationship (one partner is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative) for almost a decade and I took care of many serodiscordant couples – some who converted, some did not. My information may not be leading edge, but it should still be accurate.

 

This higher a viral load, the more infectious a person tends to be. High viral loads are classic in people who are newly infected, and in those who stop their medications. Keep in mind that newly infected people still have a window in which their HIV test will be negative.

 

In my personal experience, and with the serodiscordant couples I treated, most chose safe sex, despite undetectable viral loads. None of these couples converted that I am aware of. Of those who had undetectable viral loads and did not have safe sex, most did not convert, but some did. Quite often, the conversion occurred when the infected partner stopped their medications, or for some reason, was non-adherent with their regiment. But some converted despite consistently undetectable viral loads and reported strict adherence.

 

If a person were described as undetectable, I would assume that they are HIV positive. Otherwise, why would they have a viral load test (yes, I am aware that this is done occasionally for a variety of reasons)? So I would not speak of undetectable vs. positive, but rather a positive person with a detectable viral load (and how high) vs. A positive person with an undetectable viral load

 

I am glad that you approach each partner with the assumption that they could be infectious. If you are HIV negative, please stay that way, if you’re positive, please keep the virus to yourself.

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My question is whether a person with an undetectable status offers less risk than a person with positive status.

 

... “undetectable” doesn’t mean it isn’t there or that you no longer have HIV. It simply means that your viral load is so low that the test is unable to measure it.

 

Studies show that there may be temporary spikes, even in people who have had undetectable viral load levels for an extended period. These increased levels may occur between tests, and there may be no outward signs of an increase.

 

Also, although blood and seminal fluid viral load levels are often similar, a person with an undetectable blood viral load can have a higher level of virus in genital fluids [sperm].

 

http://www.healthline.com/health/hiv...ableViralLoad3

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