Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has been a game-changing tool in the fight against the HIV epidemic. Your chances of getting HIV on PrEP are close to zero, since PrEP provides 99% protection against HIV infection.
Even if you're not taking PrEP, your risk may be much lower than you think: If your partner has an undetectable viral load, it's considered 'untransmittable' (U=U). Thanks to incredible advancements in HIV treatment, an individual with an undetectable viral load can live a happy and healthy life -- but many people who are HIV-negative still wonder if sex with an undetectable partner is safe, and if they should still be taking PrEP every day.
At PrEP2Me, we're passionate about providing the education people need to have happy, healthy sex. We also prescribe PrEP online as an easy and convenient way for patients to get the HIV prevention they need, delivered quickly and discreetly to their door.
If you're having sex with someone who's HIV-positive but undetectable, here's what you should know about moving forward with PrEP.
Learning About HIV
Like other sexually-transmitted infections, HIV can be spread through contact with certain bodily fluids -- like blood and semen -- that are infected with the virus, passing it from one person to another. It can also be contracted through contact with shared needles during injection drug use and childbirth or breastfeeding.
In most cases, HIV is diagnosed by blood lab tests conducted at your local doctor’s office or clinic. An HIV test can tell you if someone is positive or negative for the virus. If someone is positive, their doctor will likely take additional tests to determine the level of HIV in the person’s body, which is called a viral load.
Treatment for HIV includes antiretroviral drugs which, when taken correctly over the long term, can reduce the amount of virus in a person’s body and help their immune system fight off any infections they may encounter.
What is HIV Status?
HIV status is a term used to describe someone's HIV infection status. It can refer to whether an individual has been tested for HIV, their test result, and/or whether they are receiving treatment for the virus.
'HIV positive' means someone has tested positive for HIV and has the virus in their body. 'HIV negative' means someone doesn't have the virus in their body.
It's important to note that these terms are useful for disclosing, but they should be used neutrally and without judgment. Stigma against people living with HIV still exists and can make it difficult to open up about a positive diagnosis.
Undetectable = Untransmittable
It's important to understand the science behind HIV treatment and why an undetectable viral load is associated with minimal risk of transmission.
When someone with an HIV infection takes antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed, their virus can become so low that it's undetectable in laboratory tests, meaning it can no longer be passed on through oral, anal, or vaginal sex. This is known as U=U, or 'undetectable = untransmittable.'
Should I Take PrEP If My Partner is Undetectable?
If you have a single, long-term sexual partner whose viral load is undetectable, your risk of getting HIV from sex is next to zero, even if you're not on PrEP. However, some people prefer to stay on PrEP as an extra layer of protection, while others may choose to stop taking PrEP if they feel comfortable doing so.
There are also some other scenarios in which you may want to keep taking PrEP. First, if your partner stops taking their ART for any reason, their viral load could go up to a detectable level, which increases your risk of infection. Additionally, if either of you has sex with someone else who has HIV, it's important to start taking PrEP as soon as possible.
How Does PrEP Medication Prevent HIV Infection?
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a daily HIV prevention pill that can be used to reduce the risk of HIV in those who are HIV-negative. It's made up of two medications – tenofovir and emtricitabine – which work together to block HIV from entering your body and making copies of itself.
When taken as prescribed, taking PrEP can reduce your risk of getting HIV by 99%. With PrEP you don't have to worry about forgetting a condom or missing a dose each day. Plus, with online providers like PrEP2Me, it's convenient and easy to have delivered quickly and discreetly to your door.
Get PrEP Online With PrEP2Me
If you and your partner decide to keep pre-exposure prophylaxis as part of your HIV prevention strategy, you can now get a prescription and have it delivered to your door with the help of PrEP2Me.
PrEP2Me offers an easy three-step process to get started with PrEP from the comfort of your own home: complete an at-home STI test, consult with a doctor via video chat, and get a prescription sent directly to your door.
At PrEP2Me, we make the prevention of HIV and AIDS simple and accessible to all!