Treatment as Prevention (TasP) is an effective option for people living with HIV to prevent the transmission of HIV, along with other ways to protect your partners from HIV. Condoms will always provide a mainstay within these strategies.
For a majority of people living with HIV who are taking HIV medication, who are able to suppress our HIV viral load to an ‘undetectable’ level (UVL) for at least six months, we cannot pass HIV to our sexual partners (even without condoms). When a person living with HIV has a viral load of less than 200 copies/mL, for at least 6 months, they are considered to have an undetectable viral load (UVL), and cannot transmit HIV to their partners.
This is what is known as Treatment as Prevention (TasP). It is an effective HIV prevention strategy used by the majority of people living with HIV to reduce the levels of the HIV virus in our bodies, slow the progression of HIV and the impact of HIV on our immune system, and offer protection to those we care about and love.
TasP is recognised as a key sexual health strategy to prevent HIV transmission by many health promotion NGO’s including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNAIDS. Coupled with immediate start of HIV treatment, today people living with HIV are active players in protecting and preventing HIV transmission.
Abround 5% of people living with HIV cannot suppress their HIV viral load to ‘undetectable’ levels. Some of these reasons include genetics, treatment resistance factors, immuno-compromised systems, or various multi-morbidity health conditions. There are also times during our lives where we cannot maintain viral suppression for a range of different reasons.
While TasP is a significant strategy for the majority of people living with HIV who can maintain an undetectable viral load (UVL), it is only one of many informed HIV prevention strategies used by people living with HIV such as condom use, serosorting, strategic positioning, viral load monitoring, and negotiated safety options.
It’s common for people on antiretroviral therapy to experience a ‘viral blip’. This is a short term increase above undetectable level.
The Partners Study showed there was no transmission of HIV to their partners if they experienced a viral blip between 20-200 copies per ml.
If you are living with HIV and have questions about TasP or any HIV medications, please call Positive Life on (02) 9206-2177 or 1800 245 677 (freecall) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about TasP
HIV & Treatment as Prevention (TasP) – also known as U=U
PLHIV and TasP – what’s it mean? – published April 2017
When zero means zero: a new freedom when living with HIV – published August 2016
The Partners Study