Treatment for HIV
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is used to treat HIV. Medication comes in the form of tablets, which need to be taken every day. They work by preventing the virus from being able to replicate in the body which allows the immune system to repair itself and prevent further damage.
The aim of HIV treatment is to reduce someone’s viral load to undetectable levels. This does not mean the virus has gone completely, it means the amount of HIV is minimal and cannot be detected by current tests. HIV blood tests are given per millilitre of blood and, in general, an undetectable result means there are fewer than 50 copies per ml.
It is important to note that being undetectable is not the same as being cured because the virus is still in the body and the viral load will increase if the medicine is not followed as prescribed. There is still no cure for HIV.
What does U=U and (TasP) mean?
U = U means Undetectable = Untransmissible
This sums up the fact that people with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus to their sexual partners.
TasP = Treatment as Prevention
This is a different way of describing the same concept: that people living with HIV on correct treatment who are virally supressed cannot pass the virus on. In this way, treatment for HIV also acts as a method of viral prevention.