December 2, 2019
U=U initiative emphasizes importance of treatment in reducing transmission
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Oregon Health Authority is honoring World AIDS Day (Dec. 1) by partnering with a national HIV education campaign promoting a new initiative known as U=U, or "Undetectable equals Untransmittable."
OHA’s endorsement of Prevention Access Campaign’s U=U effort is part of the End HIV Oregon initiative, launched in December 2016, to end new HIV infections in Oregon and eliminate stigma for those living with the disease. The initiative's 2019 Progress Report is available on the End HIV Oregon website.
"We have the tools to end HIV in Oregon and the science is clear: HIV treatment is HIV prevention," said Tim Menza, M.D., medical director of the HIV/STD/TB Section at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division.
Menza said the data behind HIV treatment along with medications to prevent HIV transmission such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), "have redefined the prevention strategies to have a healthy, fulfilling, worry-free sex life."
One of the cornerstone messages of the End HIV Oregon initiative is that HIV treatment saves lives. Studies show that people living with HIV who are on effective HIV treatment, and achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load, have no risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partners. Public health officials use campaigns like U=U to promote access to treatment and care.
In Oregon, people living with HIV may qualify for CAREAssist, Oregon’s AIDS Drug Assistance Program, which helps cover medical costs. "We need to tell absolutely everyone living with HIV that U=U, so they know they can live long, healthy, stigma-free lives," Menza said.
U=U applies only to HIV. Condoms help prevent other sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, and open communication with sexual partners is essential, Menza said. U=U is a powerful message emphasizing that, together, all Oregonians can help end new HIV infections, as well as HIV-related stigma and shame, throughout the state.
One of the most effective ways to help end HIV is to get tested. For a testing site near you, visit the End HIV website.