0l-104-22 HIV in 2019

One of the specific data fields on most dating and hook-up site profiles is HIV status. Some of the most common answers to this information field are:

Neg (Negative)
Neg on PrEP
Poz (Positive)
Poz Undetectable

There seems to be some confusion on just what these values mean. Simply put: Neg means the test results returned no indication of the HIV virus in the immune system; where as Poz means the test results returned positive for the HIV virus in the immune system. However, nothing is simple these days and that can be dangerous to the unknowing.

The problem with the Neg designation is the concept of ‘Assumed Negative’. The definitions above talk about test results, but a very large percentage of our population have not tested recently, if at all. Many people in this category put Neg on their profiles because they assume that they are negative. If a person has an multi-partner sex life, they should test at least once every 3 months.

The CDC collects massive amounts of data on HIV in the population which is called surveillance data. They regularly publish Surveillance Reports on that data. In 2014, a report stated that: 1 in 5 people living with HIV in the US did NOT know their status. That translates to 20% of the people who had HIV did not know they were Poz because they were not testing. How do you think these people filled out their on-line profiles?

Poz Undetectable means the HIV virus is present in the immune system, however the amount of the virus (Viral Load) is so low that the tests cannot detect it. The essence of the CDC’s Prevention Through Care program (instituted 2011) is: If every HIV Positive person is in care and takes their retro-viral medications correctly, their Viral load will be undetectable and they will not be able to pass the virus on to others. This article is an interesting discussion of where we were in HIV prevention was in 2015.

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