Media Release

19 September 2018

ASHM is delighted to host the launch of a new global resource from ICASO — a Canadian organisation that acts as a global policy voice on HIV issues that impact diverse communities around the world — on what it means for women living with HIV and their understanding of what an undetectable HIV viral load means in relation to being unable to transmit HIV (U=U).

The science behind the U=U message is unequivocal and provides clear evidence that we can reduce the anxiety related to the sexual transmission of HIV with confidence if a person living with HIV maintains an undetectable viral load.

“This resource explains why it is so important to understand what the ‘U=U’ message means specifically for women” says Heather Elis, Chair of Positive Women Victoria, “The experiences and needs of individual women living with HIV are hugely diverse and the personal stories shared here from women living with HIV give reason for optimism. But there still remains important questions that need to be answered to make the U=U message relevant, understandable and more meaningful to women, particularly around breastfeeding.”

Following on from the launch of the U=U community brief last year, ICASO has been working with a number of communities of people living with HIV to better understand how the message of U=U is being understood and applied to their lives.

“U=U is about so much more than just reducing the risk of transmission of HIV through sex” says Sarah Feagan, Board Director with National Association of people with HIV Australia (NAPWHA). “It is radically redefining how we see ourselves as people living with HIV and even more importantly, how others perceive us. U=U is helping reduce the fear and prejudice that underpins HIV stigma.”

This community brief captures the voices of women from around the world living with HIV who articulate the intensely personal experiences of pregnancy, motherhood and infant feeding as well as some of the nuances around sexuality, access, equity and gender which exist in the lives of women living with HIV.

“Our goal was to ask women living with HIV about their understanding and experiences related to the U=U messaging to date, to not only answer questions, but to also raise other important issues that require further deliberation, consultation and conversation” says Jessica Whitbread, one of the authors of the brief.


Download the Resource


Join the launch at the 2018 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference

Please join us for the launch of the resource along with a panel of women living with HIV from across Australia at the 2018 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference:

  • Heather Elis — Chair of Positive Women Victoria
  • Sarah Feagan — Board Director of NAPWHA
  • Jane Costello — President of Positive LIfe NSW

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 | 12:40 – 1:00 AEST
Sydney Masonic Centre, Conference & Function Centre (Tuscan Room)
66 Goulburn Street, Sydney NSW Australia


Find out more about U=U

The ASHM webpage also includes Australian guidance for clinicians and other health care providers discussing Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) with people living with HIV – UPDATED WITH LATEST EVIDENCE


For more information on the resource contact

Brent Allan, Senior Advisor Policy and Programs, ICASO on +61 427 682 867 or


For more information on the 2018 Australasian HIV&AIDS Conference contact:

Ben Riley, Media and Communications Manager, ASHM on +61 401 267 024 or


Download this Media Release

Understanding Undetectable=Untransmissible (U=U) for Women Living with HIV on 19 September 2018