U=U anti-stigma messaging about HIV endorsed by Public Health Sudbury & DistrictsIssued: Thursday, April 18, 2019
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is formally endorsing the Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U) campaign (Prevention Access Campaign), which promotes scientific evidence that an undetectable HIV viral load effectively poses no risk of HIV transmission within a comprehensive public health approach to sexual health.
“People living with HIV experience stigma which can undermine their access to prevention, testing, and treatment services. The U=U campaign aims to reduce this stigma and is an important step towards community acceptance of people living with HIV,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
People living with HIV who take antiretroviral therapy as prescribed can lead a healthy life. Treatment can effectively stop the virus from multiplying to the point where it is so low and ‘undetectable’ that it cannot be passed to others through sex.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is caused by a virus that attacks the immune system. The virus is found in blood and other body fluids and is spread to others through sexual activities or through exposure to blood and body fluids of an infected person. Advances in treatment and timely interventions and supports have allowed people living with HIV to manage their illness and live a healthy life.
The U=U campaign is based on the following scientific evidence—when a person living with HIV takes antiretroviral therapy medications consistently as prescribed and maintains a confirmed suppressed viral load, there is effectively no risk of them passing the infection on to their sexual partners.
Public Health Sudbury & Districts joins more than 760 organizations from nearly 20 countries who endorse the U=U consensus statement (Prevention Access Campaign).
- In 2015, an estimated 182 people were living with HIV in Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ region. Of those (182), 84% were in care, 74% were on antiretroviral therapy, and 69% were virally suppressed.
- Between 2013 and 2017, a total of 29 188 HIV tests were completed for residents of Public Health Sudbury & Districts’ service area with an average HIV positivity rate of 0.14% locally.
- More information about U=U can be found at CATIE (Canada’s source for HIV and hepatitis C information) and on its Canadian connection at U=U: The Backstory.
1Ontario HIV Epidemiology and Surveillance Initiative. (2018). HIV in Ontario by public health unit: Testing, new diagnoses and care cascade. Retrieved from http://www.ohesi.ca/documents/OHESI-HIV-by-PHU-2018-11.pdf