News: Canada Is The First Country To Endorse Undetectable=Untransmittable

Image credit: Daniel Joseph Petty from Pexels

In a huge step for reducing stigma for people with HIV in Canada, the country’s Minister of Health, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, officially endorsed the Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) campaign.

As reported by HIVPlus, Taylor signed the consensus statement in a red ribbon flag raising ceremony held during World AIDS Day. Earlier, Taylor had a roundtable with people living with HIV in Canada so as to better understand their experiences and help the Canadian government’s campaign against the stigma of HIV.

It was September of last year that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first declared that HIV can’t be transmitted if undetectable. The memo, which was released on National Gay Men HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, declared that  “people who take ART daily as prescribed and achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.”

Since then, a study has come out that has also looked into the health effects of a low viral load.  The study involved 5986 patients and concluded that for patients with a low viral load — at least two consecutive viral loads in the range of 50 – 199 copies/mL for at least one month, with no viral loads over 199 copies — clinical results were similar to people who remained undetectable.

Another thing that the study discovered was the efficacy of today’s modern antiretroviral treatment. Most people who achieved an undetectable viral load within three to nine months of starting antiretroviral treatment remained undetectable through the follow-up period.

To our Canadian Adam4Adam blog readers, how do you feel about this move by the Canadian government? Do you feel that this is a step in the right direction? How else could the government improve its campaign against HIV stigma? Share your thoughts and suggestions with us in the comments section below.

There are 11 comments

Add yours
  1. bjjj

    I’d really still question who is truthfully undetectable and who isn’t. Even if you can’t pick up HIV from an undetectable person, (although I question that as well), many guys on here and other sites say there undetectable, but I always wonder who is telling the truth. Also at what point (viral load), is the virus considered undetectable. It’s always best not to take risks, but I guess life itself is always a risk. HIV and AIDS isn’t the only things to worry about. The bad thing is that there is such social stigma concerning HIV. There are so many other diseases and conditions that can lead to illness and death, and also all kinds of accidents as well. I am regularly tested and luckily have always been NEG for all STDs and wish to remain that way.

    • Eric R. Wilson

      The article claims that a viral load up to 200 still renders an individual unable to infect others…. Personally, I would not rely on this. Additionally, men are notorious liars – and I too intend to remain seronegative and maintain my record of never having had an STI – although I had sustained relationships with two who died of complications brought on by the virus in 1995. Bagging up is my modus operandi….

  2. andy19806

    This is good news for HIV positive individuals but I predict a vast increase in other STD’s. Although not life-threatening as AIDS, they still can lead to serious health risks. Still best to keep it covered guys.

  3. Alejado

    That is a wonderful news. I hope the others countries will take the example of Canada and finally finish stigmatizing people for their health status.

  4. Jorge

    My contention is this: the ‘undetectable’ relies solely on the fastidiousness of taking the proper combination of medications, at the proscribed time and for the life of the patient.

    Most persons are not fastidious and thus, if they fail to remember what, which and when, their viral load will increase and infectivity will become a reality.

    I work in the healthcare field for many years, and what I wrote is from sheer experience. I had patients die because they either forgot to take their insulin or got careless with their insulin.

    Canada should not have rushed this…as they did; I lived in Hamilton County, within Ontario Province.

  5. Hunter0500

    This sounds all well and good, but what does it mean in practical terms? Does stigmatizing, passively or aggressively, result in a fine? Jail time?

    What, also, do “maintain” and “most people” mean? How does an individual under medication for HIV know on a day to day basis they are still “maintaining”?

    • Jorge

      Hunter 0500:

      When a person is diagnosed with HIV, they have a ‘viral load’ evaluation to see what is their ‘T4’ Count is? If it is between 750 – 1000/ML, or above, they need not do anything because they have sufficient T4 Cells to maintain immune status and their immunity system is intact.

      If they are 500 – 750, they will be reevaluated within 3 – 6 months to see if that level is stationary or has dropped?

      If they drop below 500 – 250, a virologist will begin either a preventive regimentation or an acute medial plan to begin reestablishing an adequate T4 Count. A count below 250/ML is impending doom and symptomatic.

      A variety of anit-viral medications will be prescribed, initially, to arrest the dropping count until the count rises to a preferred count…500 T4ML.

      Once a stability is reached, the anti-viral medications might be changed or dosages be refined. Once the patient shows stability and a sufficient drop in viral load, the medications will, once again, be reevaluated.

      However, the patient is given explicit instructions as to what is given; how much is to be taken; what order to taken, and for how long/ This is patient’s responsibility and most patients will adhere to it, faithfully, for the rest of their lives.

      However, some patients will have their cognizance impaired because of infectivity with CMV or HPV; Hep; Herpes; et al.

      It is a lot for one person to maintain and people are human, and humans are not perfect or fastidious…hence, the problem with declaring that ‘Undetectable = non-infectious’.

  6. Eric R. Wilson

    I wholeheartedly endorse this momentous step by the Canadian government. It will go a long way toward easing the stigma associated with an HIV diagnosis. However, the Canadian government should also escalate their efforts in promoting safe sex 100% of the time. We must remember that men lie, or can take their medications improperly, and experience an increased viral load. We Americans cannot expect a step in this direction until the present woefully unqualified, shamefully homophobic administration is voted out in 2020.

  7. HornyTop

    HIV transmission, remission, and detectability is not a matter of government pronouncements. Holding this up as “good news” just goes to show the extent to which wishful thinking governs people’s perception of reality, to all of our detriment. The truth is that we have no idea whether undetectable (by what mechanism, pray tell??) is a long-term condition, and we certainly do not have enough data to make a determination that undetectable, by whatever testing régime, means non-transmissible.

Post a new comment

Like us to stay in touch with latests posts!