Prevention Access Campaign has Potential to Dismantle HIV Stigma
The Well Project, the premier online resource for women and HIV, is proud to endorse the Consensus Statement* by the Prevention Access Campaign that "Undetectable Equals Untransmittable" (U=U). In our mission to change the course of the HIV/AIDS pandemic though a unique and comprehensive focus on women and girls, we are committed to supporting and disseminating the message that U=U through our diverse resources.
Increasing awareness that having an undetectable viral load means that people living with HIV will not transmit the virus can have a dramatic impact on public and personal perceptions of HIV. The Well Project has long believed that HIV stigma is the biggest barrier to ending the HIV epidemic and we have worked tirelessly to break down that stigma by providing access to information, community support, and advocacy. We believe the U=U campaign is an extraordinarily powerful tool with the potential to address all kinds of HIV stigma – including institutional stigma occurring in healthcare settings, workplaces, and broadly across society, interpersonal stigma that can be so damaging among family and friends, and internalized stigma, which many people don't even realize they have. We expect this campaign to open eyes, minds, and hearts and to be particularly empowering for people living with HIV.
"The Well Project has seen the impact of increased hope on the health outcomes and well-being of people living with HIV through our efforts over the last 15 years," says Krista Martel, executive director of The Well Project. "We see U=U as the most hopeful of campaigns, one that can have a profound effect on our efforts to dramatically change the narrative and course of the HIV epidemic. On a personal level, we believe U=U will decrease self-stigma among people living with HIV, leading to increased self-esteem, engagement in care, and overall quality of life. On a societal level, U=U has the potential to shatter long-standing myths and misperceptions around HIV transmission and prevention."
For more information about this important initiative, please view The Well Project's global ambassador Maria Mejia's video blog on A Girl Like Me (below) about U=U (also available in Spanish here). We look forward to sharing additional blogs and resources on this topic in the future.
We encourage our community partners to consider endorsing the consensus statement below (which can also be accessed here) and learning more about this remarkable campaign. Spread the news and spread the hope!! #UequalsU
*Consensus Statement: People living with HIV on ART with an undetectable viral load in their blood have a negligible risk of sexual transmission of HIV. Depending on the drugs employed it may take as long as six months for the viral load to become undetectable. Continued and reliable HIV suppression requires selection of appropriate agents and excellent adherence to treatment. HIV viral suppression should be monitored to assure both personal health and public health benefits.
("NEGLIGIBLE" = so small or unimportant as to be not worth considering; insignificant.)
NOTE: An undetectable HIV viral load only prevents HIV transmission to sexual partners. Condoms also help prevent HIV transmission as well as other STIs and pregnancy. The choice of HIV prevention method may be different depending upon a person's sexual practices, circumstances, and relationships. For instance, if someone is having sex with multiple partners or is in a non-monogamous relationship, they might consider using condoms to prevent other STIs.