Here’s how HIV is changing in 2020
By Positive Peers
All around the world, scientists and medical professionals are working towards one common goal: a cure for HIV. And that cure could literally come from anywhere in the world. Luckily, some pretty smart people are working hard to develop treatments. One step closer toward an answer! Woohoo!
And while HIV might be a tough virus to find a cure for, medical professionals and government officials aren’t giving up. Many people are working to tackle the HIV epidemic. Here’s what’s happening in 2020:
A National Response to the HIV
The National HIV/AIDS Strategy is a five-year plan that discusses the overall action plan to cure HIV. This plan was first released by the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) in 2010 and has been updated each year since. Its overall goal is to stop the spread of the disease through a system of HIV care and treatment led by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program.
Here are the program’s overall goals:
- Reduce new HIV infections
- More affordable access to health care for people living with HIV
- Limit HIV-related health issues
- Educate more people about the HIV epidemic nationwide
This strategy gives medical professionals and scientists a chance to make a much bigger impact on HIV prevention, care, and research. How cool is that?!
Treatment as Prevention ( TaaP )
Did you know about 165,000 Americans are living with HIV, and they don’t even know it?! Yeah, that’s a lot of people. A 2020 goal for HIV.gov is to encourage more people to get tested and gain access to medication nationwide. As soon as someone finds out they have HIV, it’s important for them to get linked to HIV care and start on treatment. This not only helps the person live a long, healthy life, but it also helps protect partners, because of U=U. So, what is U=U? It means Undetectable equals Untransmittable. U=U is simple, and a very important campaign based on scientific evidence. The good news is that it has already made a positive impact on public opinions. Its goal is to help everyone understand they can live long, healthy lives, have kids, and never have to worry about passing on their infection to others. It’s a powerful message, and providers should be discussing U=U with all patients living with HIV.
Ready, Set, PrEP
Ready, Set, PrEP is a new nationwide program led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In short, this program is designed to allow affordable access to PrEP medication nationwide. PrEP is short for “pre-exposure prophylaxis.” It means something you take something prior to exposure an infection from happening. Simply put, a prophylactic prevent something. Birth control, for example, prevents pregnancies. PrEP is basically the “birth control” of HIV prevention.
You take PrEP before you’re exposed to HIV. That’s what “pre-exposure” means. If you’re already living with HIV, then you cannot take PrEP. So, getting tested is a key part of getting a PrEP prescription.
Time to tackle the stigma
Ya’ll, it’s 2020, and with all the medical advances in HIV medicine, we’re wondering why HIV is still considered a crime in many states. We encourage you to write your local lawmakers or attend the HIV Is Not A Crime Conference in June at Ohio State University! We can’t expect individuals not to feel stigmatized by HIV when our laws are stigmatizing and aren’t based on scientific facts. We can do better.