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Excerpt cross-posted from the futureofpersonalhealth.com
Today’s HIV medications prevent transmission when taken as prescribed, reducing the number of people infected.
As an HIV test counselor in 1985, I never imagined that I would be working on HIV 30 years later. Over this period, my partner John and numerous friends died, I was diagnosed with HIV, and I witnessed two major revolutions in HIV treatment that changed the epidemic’s course. One was in the 1990s. The other is unfolding now, and is key to getting closer to ending HIV.
Revolution 1: Treatment Saves Lives
The first revolution started in 1995 when new medications brought many people living with HIV/AIDS back from the brink of death, enabling them to regain their health. These medications stopped the virus from destroying the immune system and kept people healthy. In two years, deaths among people with AIDS were cut in half.
In the past 22 years, HIV treatments have improved to be more durable, safer, and have fewer side effects. Today, someone who is diagnosed shortly after infection and starts HIV treatment, continues taking it daily and maintains an undetectable viral load can expect to live nearly as long as a peer without HIV.
Revolution 2: Treatment Stops Transmission
We are now experiencing the second revolution, thanks to major scientific advances in our understanding of the prevention power of today’s HIV treatments.
To read the full commentary, visit futureofpersonalhealth.com.
To learn more, visit HIV.gov.