We can and we will end this together. I thought I would never say those words. Today, I think it is possible but some things have to change. Everyone needs to be KNOW your STATUS, everyone who is HIV- and at high risk needs to take PrEP and, everyone who is HIV+ needs to be in treatment, stay in treatment and be virally suppressed. So much has happened. Since 1981, 76 million people have been diagnosed worldwide, 33 million have died.
Today in the US, 1.3 million people are living with HIV. Of those, 1 in 7 do not know their status. Young people ages 13 -24 are most likely to be unaware of their status, about 45% of all new infections. Although there have been significant decreases in the overall infection rates, there continues to be about 36,000 in diagnosis each year. About 75% of people living with HIV, PLWH, receive some type of care, 58% were retained in care (which means that they stayed on treatment and 65% are virally suppressed (which means that they medications are taken correctly and they are 100% less likely to transmit this virus through sexual contact. Careteam+’s People Living with HIV (PLWH) viral suppression is 92%.
So why do so many people not know their status and of those who do, nearly 60% fall out of care in the first year? Beats the heck out of me! Medications are freely available regardless of your ability to pay. Additionally, medical treatment by a specialist is available everywhere in the US even through Telehealth services. Medications no longer make folks sick like they used to. Those who take medications live long productive lives. I just spoke with a man who has been living with HIV for 23 years and I personally know another who was diagnosed in 1987 and still living, working and thriving!
There are two very important factors related to HIV today. 1) It is very treatable and treatment is accessible to everyone in the US. 2) It is 100% preventable. However, for that to happen, everyone who has HIV needs to know their status, take medications correctly and become virally suppressed OR those who are at high risk for HIV infection should be taking PrEP (a medication designed to greatly reduce the chance of HIV transmission, 90% through sexual contract and 70% through injection drug use – Transmission through sex can be reduced even more by using condoms.).
For those who don’t know, PrEP is one pill, once a day and is 100% FREE at Careteam+.
We can do this folks! In 1990 nearly everyone who acquired HIV died. Today nearly everyone who acquires HIV lives, long, productive, thriving lives.
If you don’t KNOW your Status, please find out today! If you are negative and are at high risk for infection, take PrEP. You can’t get a better price than FREE. If you are positive, get treatment now. Don’t be afraid….Don’t wait. And, if you do not get tested at Careteam+ or receive PrEP/Treament at our organization, PLEASE ask your own medical provider for these resources. Your health and life are worth it!
Johanna Haynes, LISW AP/CP