Protect Others If You Have HIV
Get in care and take medicine to treat HIV.
- HIV medicine (called antiretroviral therapy or ART) can reduce the amount of HIV in the blood (called viral load). HIV medicine can make the viral load very low—so low that a test can’t detect it (called an undetectable viral load).
- People with HIV who keep an undetectable viral load (or stay virally suppressed) can live long, healthy lives. Viral suppression is defined as having less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
- If a person has an undetectable viral load, they have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
- Having an undetectable viral load also helps prevent transmission to others through sharing needles, syringes, or other injection equipment, and from mother-to-child during pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding.
- Most people can get the virus under control within six months.
- Taking ART does not prevent transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Learn more about how to protect others.
Page last reviewed: May 20, 2021