What Is Undetectable HIV?

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Undetectable HIV refers to a phenomenon when an individual has the HIV virus, but the universal viral tests give a negative result.The HIV-positive person is then said to have an undetectable viral load, which is less than 50 copies per millimeter of blood, according to Emily Claymore of Magnet. Anti-retroviral therapy aims at achieving an undetectable viral load in HIV-positive patients.

Undetectable HIV implies that the viral count in the body is low, which in turn means that the patient lives longer. According to Tyler Curry of the Huffington Post, the lower the viral load an individual has, the less likelihood of transmitting the disease. However, undetectable HIV does not mean that one is cured. The virus is still in the body, and it can be transmitted from the infected person to HIV-negative persons. Undetectable viral loads fluctuate upwards or downwards depending on the consistency of ART medication compliance. If a person who has an undetectable HIV load stops taking ART medication, the viral load can increase to detectable levels again, which increases the risks associated with high viral loads. People with undetectable HIV should continue complying with their ART drugs to keep their viral load as low as possible.