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What is HIV undetectable?

A lot of times we use the phrases viral suppression and undetectable interchangeably. So when your provider says yes, you’re virally suppressed on your antiretrovirals, that’s what that means.

It doesn’t mean that it’s a cure, it doesn’t mean that it’s out of your body. It’s still there. But undetectable means that it’s so low that they won’t be able to see it in the labs.

There’s effectively no risk of you transmitting HIV to your sexual partners.

The key when you’re living with HIV is that undetectability is just not one moment in time but it’s something that needs to be sustained.

Dr. David Malebranche, MD, MPH, a clinician-researcher specializing in HIV, gives the lowdown on all things HIV care and treatment in the latest installment of the #AskTheHIVDoc video series.


#AskTheHIVDoc is a video series from Greater Than HIV featuring top HIV doctors providing answers to commonly-asked questions about HIV prevention, testing and treatment.

This information is shared for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. The views expressed are those of the featured medical professional and reflect information available to that professional at time of filming. Always consult a health care provider for any personal health decision.

While we make every effort to keep the medical information on our website updated, we cannot guarantee that the information reflects the most up-to-date research. Also, please note the views expressed by individuals who appear in Greater Than HIV videos and other content are their own and are not made on behalf of any groups/organizations/associations.