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News Release

World AIDS Day: Effective treatment can now stop the spread of HIV

Nov 30, 2018
SIMCOE MUSKOKA - To mark this year’s Dec. 1 World AIDS Day, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is celebrating advances in the medical treatment of HIV.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA - To mark this year’s Dec. 1 World AIDS Day, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is celebrating advances in the medical treatment of HIV. Treatment which is now available for people living with HIV reduces the amount of virus in the blood to the point where it can no longer be sexually transmitted to other people.

 “People living with HIV who maintain an effective treatment plan can get the level of the virus to a very low and ‘undetectable’ level. This means that they live a healthy life, and they cannot sexually transmit the virus to others,” said Dr. Colin Lee, Associate Medical Officer of Health for the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

 “Scientific evidence has been building over years to show that the risk of sexual transmission is effectively zero when there is an undetectable viral load,” Dr. Lee asserts. “This is why we need to encourage HIV testing and improve timely access to treatment not only for the health of those living with HIV, but also to work towards ending HIV transmission.”

The health unit has endorsed the ‘Undetectable Equals Untransmittable’ (U=U) Consensus Statement developed by the Prevention Access Campaign, an international collection of authorities on HIV, infectious disease and the law. More than 760 organizations in nearly 100 countries have endorsed the statement. 

Gerry Croteau, executive director of the Gilbert Centre in Barrie, which provides LGBTQ and HIV support, welcomed the declaration as an important step in creating broader community acceptance of people living with HIV.

“No one with HIV regardless of viral load deserves the stigma and discrimination that so many still face,” Croteau said. “The Gilbert Centre stands behind the science of U=U and encourages everyone to get tested to know their status.”

Locally, the number of new cases of HIV varies between 3 and 23 per year. While the numbers are low, it is estimated that one in seven infected persons is unaware they have HIV, stressing the need for people to be tested and to practice safer sex. HIV testing is available through your health care provider or our sexual health clinics by calling the Health Connection Line at 1-877-721-7520.

Those who wish to learn more about the U=U consensus statement can visit www.preventionaccess.org/consensus.

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