In Utah there is one case of HIV diagnosed every three days - that's roughly 120 new infections diagnosed a year. The "Getting to Zero" campaign would like to change that - with the ultimate goal of zero HIV-related deaths in Utah. It is a collaborative initiative among HIV medical providers, community- based organizations, and state and local health departments that aims to reduce new HIV infections and HIV-related stigma.
Getting to Zero will focus on four key domains: Test, Treat, Prevent, and Respond. With focused goals, strategies, and actions in these areas, we can address the factors affecting communities and individuals impacted by HIV.
Approximately one in four people living with HIV in the United States are women. One in nine of them are unaware of their status.
It is important for women to know their HIV status so they can take medicine to treat HIV if they have the virus. It is just as important that medical providers ask about HIV risks and offer screenings since many people do not feel comfortable bringing up sensitive concerns or do not even know they are at risk.
For women at increased risk for HIV they can start PrEP- a once daily medication to prevent acquiring HIV. This is a safe medication with little side effects and can be given in a primary care office. Women who become pregnant but still have risk for HIV can continue the medication through pregnancy.
For those living with HIV it is important to know we have many medication options now and folks can live a long, healthy life with daily medication. Taking HIV medicine every day can make the viral load undetectable. Women who get and keep an undetectable viral load (or stay virally suppressed) have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to HIV-negative sex partners or their baby if they were to become pregnant.
For more information about HIV, community resources PrEP, please visit HIVandme.com.