HEALTH TIP:   U = U Got Questions?

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Copy of Instagram Post – Untitled DesignU = U means undetectable equals untransmittable. This slogan refers to the fact that there is effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV when the virus is reduced to undetectable levels.

An undetectable viral load for people living with HIV means they will not transmit HIV to their partners. Active engagement in treatment as prevention is a key to maintaining an undetectable viral load and preventing HIV transmission. ‘Treatment as Prevention’ (TasP) is defined as any HIV prevention method that uses antiretroviral therapy (ART) to decrease the risk of HIV transmission to a sexual or needle-sharing partner. ART reduces HIV in blood, semen, vaginal fluid, and rectal fluid to very low levels, and as a result, lowers HIV transmission. ART can even lower viral load to undetectable levels.

Evidence from real-world studies including PARTNER and Opposites Attract shows the affect TasP and ART have on preventing HIV transmission in the PARTNER study that there were ZERO transmissions out of 58,000 condomless sex acts between people with undetectable HIV viral loads and their HIV-negative partners. In the Opposites Attract study, there were no transmissions out of 17,000 condomless sex acts between men. Since the advent of combination therapy, there have been no confirmed reports of anyone with an undetectable viral load sexually transmitting HIV.

An important aspect to TasP is regular viral load testing. Testing is recommended about 2-4 times a year for people who have a stable undetectable viral load. More frequent testing may be necessary and it is recommended that people speak with their doctors about appropriate care, treatment, and testing.

Evidence shows that with regular testing and continued treatment, people living with undetectable HIV viral loads may let go of fears about transmitting HIV to their partners. Instead, we can all focus on the fact undetectable does equal untransmitable.

References:

Cohen MS, Chen YQ, McCauley M, et al. Antiretroviral therapy for the prevention of HIV-1 Transmission. New England Journal of Medicine. 2016;0(July 18):1-10. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1600693#t=article

Del Romero J, Castilla J, Hernando V, Rodríguez C, García S. Combined antiretroviral treatment and heterosexual transmission of HIV-1: cross sectional and prospective cohort study. British Medical Journal. 2010;340:c2205. http://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/340/bmj.c2205.full.pdf

Frieden TR, Foti KE, Mermin J. Applying Public Health Principles to the HIV Epidemic—How Are We Doing? New England Journal of Medicine. 2015;373(23):2281-2287. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMms1513641#t=article

i-Base. Q&A on the PARTNER study: how to interpret the zero transmission results. 2016; http://i-base.info/qa-on-the-partner-study/. Accessed 07/18/2016.

Loutfy M, Tyndall M, Baril J-G, Montaner JS, Kaul R, Hankins C. Canadian consensus statement on HIV and its transmission in the context of criminal law. Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology. 2014;25(3):135-140. http://www.hivlawandpolicy.org/resources/canadian-consensus-statement-hiv-and-its-transmission-context-criminal-law-mona-loutfy

Loutfy MR, Wu W, Letchumanan M, et al. Systematic review of HIV transmission between heterosexual serodiscordant couples where the HIV-positive partner is fully suppressed on antiretroviral therapy. PloS one. 2013;8(2):e55747. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0055747

Rodger AJ, Cambiano V, Bruun T, et al. Sexual activity without condoms and risk of HIV transmission in serodifferent couples when the HIV-positive partner is using suppressive antiretroviral therapy. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2016;316(2):171-181. http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2533066

Vernazza P. HIV-infizierte Menschen ohne andere STD sind unter wirksamer antiretroviraler Therapie sexuell nicht infektiös. 2008. http://www.aids.ch/de/downloads/pdfs/EKAF-Statment_2008-05-089.pdf

Vernazza PL, Bernard EJ. HIV is not transmitted under fully suppressive therapy: The Swiss Statement – eight years later Swiss Med Weekly 2016; http://bit.ly/SwissMedWeekly  Accessed Sept. 4, 2016, 146.

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Stay the Course, the Fight is Not Over! – – National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

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Across the United States on Wednesday, February 7, 2018, there will be individuals and organizations participating in National Black HIV/Aids Awareness Day to promote HIV education, testing, community involvement and treatment in black communities. This year’s theme is “Stay the Course, the Fight is Not Over!”

Education

The statistics show there is a need for this day of awareness. In the United States, there were 972,813 individuals living with HIV, 42 percent of which are African American. Of the 40,040 newly diagnosed cases, 44 percent are African American. In 2016, there were 16,010 individuals living with HIV in San Francisco. Twelve percent of this population was African American. In the same year, there were 223 newly diagnosed HIV cases in San Francisco, 15 percent were African American individuals. Good news—there was a small percentage drop in newly diagnosed HIV cases between 2015 and 2016 in San Francisco.*

Testing

San Francisco Aids Foundation offers free, confidential HIV testing. You can find other testing sites in San Francisco here.  If you live outside of San Francisco, find a testing site near you.

 Community Involvement

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day March & Vigil the Black Brothers Esteem, a prevention and support program of San Francisco AIDS Foundation has planned a march, which starts at 5:00 pm on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, and ends with the vigil at 6:00 pm at the African-American Arts and Cultural Center (726 Fulton Street).

Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition is planning an event on Wednesday, February 7 at 9:00 am based on a Facebook Event.

In honor of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, San Francisco AIDS Foundation and Black Brothers Esteem (BBE) invite you to an open soirée celebrating black excellence and resilience in the gay community. The Royal Affair!  For a night of elegance, live entertainment, live music, food, and drinks. The event is entirely free and attendees are encouraged (but not required) to dress up and/ or wear a splash of purple. We will also be offering free on-site HIV testing. All attendees must be 21+

Friday, February 9, 2018, between 6:00 pm-9:00pm @ Mr. Smith’s, 34 Seventh Street, San Francisco

Treatment

HIV Treatment works! The CDC says more than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and that staying in care and engaged in treatment helps people stay healthy, protect others, and live healthier lives.

*based on data HIV Epidemiology San Francisco 2106 Annual Report & 2015 Annual Report