Communicating HIV viral suppression status to sexual partners on SafeMatch App
Scientists all around the world have concluded that a person living with HIV has effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to others as long as their viral load is suppressed to undetectable levels (typically for at least 6 months). While this is a remarkable accomplishment, the message may be difficult for some to explain to their new partners. SafeMatch makes this simple enough to not only communicate but also to understand.
How does it work?
Step 1. User uploads their lab tests
Step 2. User shares their results on App
Step 3. Partner view shared summary of STI results
Step 4. Partner view shared test results and number of tests taken in past 1 year
How SafeMatch checks for HIV Viral Suppression?
Generally, HIV viral suppression means that a person living with HIV is taking medications (or ART) as prescribed and has reduced the amount of virus to levels below 200 copies/ml. However, our App may be used by person in their sexual health discussions with their partner. Therefore, we also check whether low viral load has been sustained for at least 6 mo. before confirming viral suppression.
Specific criteria used to show sustained HIV viral suppression on SafeMatch App are:*
1) HIV test must be measuring viral load counts (i.e. CD4, antibody, and antigen tests are not used). All viral load test results must show counts below 200 cp/ml.
2) At least one test be taken within past 6 months.**
3) At least one test be taken beyond past 6 months but not beyond past 12 months.**
4) Test #2 and #3 must be reasonably separated (>3 months).
5) Note from your healthcare provider stating that ART is being followed as prescribed. (It can be typed note from doctor).
* Our criteria is based on limited information we receive from a person. Healthcare provider may conclude that a person is not yet virally suppressed even though the above criteria is met. We also cannot verify daily medication adherence in our criteria which is critical for maintaining viral suppression. App results should only be used to start discussions. If a person living with HIV believes (or knows) they are not virally suppressed, they should never have unprotected sex with their partner, and discuss alternate means with their partner for safe sex.
** 6 month and two test requirement is stated by multiple organizations from scientific studies: CDC.gov, HIV.gov, SFAF.org, NIH.gov, PreventionAccess.org, and aidsmap.com (see references at https://safematch.net/hiv/)
Last updated on August 20, 2019