Undetectable equals Untransmittable refers to the scientific fact that a HIV positive person on effective treatment cannot pass on HIV to a sexual partner. U=U is supported by a consensus statement from researchers all around the world who all separately proved that this was the case with Studies such as the PARTNER and HPTN 52 studies.
For years we have known that HIV positive people can live long healthy lives, but the stigma of HIV has remained. Now that we know U=U, it’s really time for that stigma to be forgotten. The fact is, we now know that sex with a person with an undetectable viral load is safe sex.
Act Up is the AIDS coalition to unleash power, a diverse, non-partisan group of individuals, united in anger and committed to direct action to end the HIV epidemic. Act Up Dublin is the local chapter, which since 2016 has been putting pressure on the government and the pharmaceutical industry to make available the supports and medication necessary to curb Ireland’s skyrocketing HIV infection rates and to improve the lives of those living with HIV.
Act Up Dublin has promoted the message of U=U in Ireland through its own campaigns and campaigns run in collaboration with Masc.life. This year at pride, Act Up emphasised the U=U message, bringing it to the fore
The message of U=U is one that completely changes things for people living with HIV (PLHIV). No longer do they need to be seen as any source of danger or risk to the ones who love them. The very thing that keeps them healthy, completely eliminates the risk of passing the virus on. This has been revolutionary to their freedom to live and love already and by spreading the message of U=U we can ensure they feel welcomed and embraced in society rather then stigmatised. As government inaction on the issue of HIV adds over 500 people to the numbers of PLHIV yearly its so important to make sure they know they are valued members of society.
One of the great things about U=U is how it changes things for HIV negative people too. Just knowing that if they diagnosed with HIV that everything will be ok, removes a huge barrier to getting tested. The more that U=U reduces the stigma of being HIV positive the less the fear of testing positive. In Ireland, the antiretroviral therapy necessary to achieve an undetectable viral load is available free of charge.
The only way HIV can harm you, is if you don’t know you have it.
Photo credit: Act Up Dublin