The results are in undetectable = untransmissible; it had been for sometime. Promotion seems necessary, we are still trying to sell PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) that is when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected… And now we have even better outcomes to share; people with undetectable viral loads cannot pass on HIV to their sex partners.
Lots of people living with HIV have injected “I’m undetectable“… in their peer conversations. Imagine how relieve they are to add … “uninfectious which means I will not pass on HIV to you“ when disclosing to sex partners.
For the people who make it their business to inject fear into sexuality and sexual relationships for people living with HIV it will be difficult to embrace the results undetectable = untransmissible . Many continue to harbor (believe) outdated information on HIV. The ones who continue to spread unhealthy fear from their places of influence; such as health care workers at HIV treatment sites. Some are so set in their judgmental behavior which can breed shame in the clients they serve, and shame is a known enemy of health and recovery…defeating the purpose they are engaged to fill.
Undetectable = untransmissible …mmm. What does this really mean for women living with HIV? Will this be motivation to tolerate the side effects of ARVs?
Will access to treatment and care become more accessible? Health care providers that respect clients/patients and provide dignified treatment and care. Schedule blood test with the results available in a timely manner and discussed with clients. Pharmacist that respect your privacy and confidentiality enough to resist making snide remarks to your love ones picking up your prescription.
JCW+ will be having Test , Start and Stay conversations for women living with HIV because it is important that we are in an informed position to take responsibility for our health….and demand a quality standard of care.
In January 2017, the Ministry of Health’s National HIV Programme adopted the 2015 (World Health Organization) WHO guidelines, which recommend that anyone who is diagnosed HIV positive be offered treatment (Test and Start). Treatment as a method of prevention is another benefit of the WHO new guidelines as more PLHIV are virally suppressed and consequently the risk of transmission is decreased.
According to the announcement made last year at the National HIV Programme annual review and planning retreat, the ‘Test & Start’ initiative anticipates that an additional 1200 new patients will be eligible for treatment.
Current estimates are that over twenty nine thousand persons are living with HIV in Jamaica; but approximately 19% are unaware of their status.
HIV is very much on the priority agenda..it is the approaches to interventions that MUST be adjusted.