Charlie Sheen Claims His HIV is Undetectable – What Does That Mean?
While we all knew Charlie Sheen was going to announce he was HIV Positive in an interview on The Today Show with Matt Lauer, we weren’t sure how Sheen was going explain the devastating diagnosis. As we know too well about Sheen, he has a way with words and his behavior in the past has had many of us wondering how he would handle the diagnosis.
Sheen revealed he has known for four years he is HIV Positive, but the disease has been “undetectable.” What does “undetectable” mean in the case of HIV? A HIV positive person who is treated can achieve undetectable levels of the disease. The treatment is called antiretroviral therapy (ART). Once the person successfully goes through the treatment, the likelihood of transmitting the virus to another person is reduced by 96 percent. The person can maintain the levels if they remain on the drug treatment.
Does that mean the person is now cured and HIV free? NO. It means the disease is undetectable – NOT CURED. It also does not mean that there is a 100 percent chance of protecting your partner from the virus. Charlie brought his doctor on The Today Show, who said it is highly unlikely to transmit the disease when an individual has an undetectable level of HIV in their blood. It is possible but highly unlikely.
In other words – unprotected sex with someone who has been diagnosed with HIV is risky and precautions should always be taken.