Your 'viral load' (VL) is the measure of HIV virus present in your bloodstream. Knowing the VL present in your blood is an important indicator of how much the treatments are supressing the virus, how well your HIV medications are working, or whether you should consider starting or changing treatments in consultation with your doctor.

An 'undetectable' viral load means there are less than 40 copies/ ml of HIV in your blood. Reducing your HIV viral load to very low levels – and keeping it low over time – decreases your chance of passing on HIV.

Not everyone can achieve an 'undectable' viral load, however when you have an undetectable VL, your risk of passing on HIV is very low.

An undetectable viral load decreases the risk of passing on or getting HIV if:

  • you never miss a your medication dose
  • your viral load has been undetectable over six months or more
  • you and your partner(s) do not have an other sexually transmissable infection (with or without symptoms).