My participation in the “Start Talking. Stop HIV” campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was an opportunity to articulate the experiences of having an undetectable status on the individual level. But I am fortunate enough to have access to quality health care and treatment. 

Only around 50 percent of people living with HIV in the United States have achieved an undetectable viral load. There are lots of complex reasons why someone may not be undetectable. This does not make them stupid or irresponsible; it simply means that our system has failed them.

We need to work to dismantle HIV stigma so that no one is stigmatized, regardless of their viral load. We cannot benefit from stigma reduction while leaving others behind. A conversation about undetectable status must include dismantling structural stigma.

This excerpt is from an opinion posted on To read the complete article, click here.

Alex Garner is the senior health innovation strategist for Hornet, a gay social networking app.Courtesy of Hornet

Alex Garner is the senior health innovation strategist for the gay dating app Hornet. He lives with HIV and has worked for more than 20 years in HIV and gay men’s health.

Below are his previous op-eds:

Undetectable: Fear, Filters and Grindr

6 Positive Life Changes That Come With HIV

Generations of HIV

Coming Out Against HIV Stigma