The "Undetectable = Untransmittable" Campaign (U=U) is an international movement. It unites communities of people living with HIV, service organizations and leading HIV researchers in support of a clear, evidence-based consensus statement about the power of effective antiretroviral treatment to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. The Ontario HIV Treatment Network endorsed the U=U consensus, as follows, on May 15, 2017:
The Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to inform and support HIV policy and practice decisions in Ontario. The best available research evidence shows that “undetectable = untransmittable” – sexual transmission of HIV does not occur when effective, ongoing antiretroviral treatment (ART) has decreased the virus to undetectable levels (for at least 6 months). Acting on this knowledge will drive good public policy and clinical practice – encouraging prompt access to testing, treatment and support, as well as dramatically reducing HIV stigma. The OHTN commits to working with public health officials, health care providers, communities affected by HIV, and researchers to develop consistent education messages and pragmatic interventions that support high rates of ART adherence, and high rates of condom use to help to reduce STIs which ART does not address. This proactive and multi-stakeholder approach will optimize the health and well-being of people living with HIV in Ontario, and supports OHTN’s vision of “communities thriving now and beyond HIV.”
The Evidence Behind U=U
To support our decision-making around the undetectable = untransmittableconsensus statement, OHTN conducted a review of the research evidence. This work is now available as an OHTN Evidence Brief. The brief takes a deeper look at the studies involving serodiscordant couples and the evidence of transmission (or lack thereof) found in these studies.
The bottom line: "The best available research evidence shows that the risk of sexual HIV transmission from a person living with HIV who is on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and has achieved a suppressed HIV viral load in their blood for at least six months is extremely low (negligible)."
pozcast focuses on U=U
The growing consensus around U=U is an important milestone in the treatment of HIV - one that is life-changing for many people living with HIV. James Watson, OHTN Coordinator of Community-based Research and Peer Initiatives, talks to two people passionate about the topic and the messaging:
Laurie Edmiston, the Executive Director of the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE)
Adrian Betts an HIV positive activist, and the Executive Director of an AIDS service organization in Ontario.
Listen to the OHTN/Universities without Walls Undetectable=Untransmittable pozcast.