29.2 PLHIV and prevention of HIV transmission
In Study Session 25, you learnt about preventative measures that individuals — whether they know their HIV status or not — may take into consideration in order to reduce risks of HIV infection via the sexual route, and by direct contact with objects contaminated with infected blood. In this section, we are going to discuss specific issues that relate to sexual transmission of HIV, and to a lesser extent transmission by contact with infected blood, in the context of HIV treatment, care and support provided to PLHIV.
Patients who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) should be informed that HIV transmission to other people is still possible, even if treatment has been effective and they are informed by health workers that they have undetectable levels of HIV in their blood. Very low levels of HIV can still be present in the blood and/or sexual fluids of PLHIV undergoing ART, and these may be sufficient for the virus to infect another person.