LGBTQ+ is an integrated campaign to end the epidemic. Bridging the divide between LGBTQ organizations and AIDS service organizations, The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) and Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN) began this project to raise awareness about HIV’s progression and spread a vital message of hope that could stop HIV in its tracks.
The start of the HIV epidemic began more than 30 years ago and was a priority issue for all LGBTQ organizations. Once HIV became tagged through mainstream culture as a “gay disease,” LGBTQ organizations took a defensive stance to show that HIV does not discriminate and that anyone is susceptible. While that claim is still true, the jarring fact is that our young gay men are becoming infected at a much higher rate. It is an LGBTQ issue. However, as the years have passed, HIV has taken a back seat to issues such as marriage equality, immigration, bullying and others, becoming a bottom-of-the-list priority for an overwhelming majority of LGBTQ organizations in the United States.
But not any longer. Through this collaborative effort by The Center and AFAN, we are bringing HIV consciousness back to the LGBTQ community.
Enter: Treatment as Prevention (TasP), a game-changing way to reduce new HIV infections in three steps:
- Get tested. The only way to take control of your personal health and the larger public health is to know your status. Our goal is to identify as many people with HIV as possible.
- Link people to care. By getting those infected into antiretroviral treatment (ART) as early as possible, we can lower viral loads and effectively limit the risk of transmission by a staggering 96%.
- Adherence to care. You must be on ART if treatment is to have an effect on transmission.
TasP is not a cure; potential vaccines should continue to be developed. But TasP is a feasible solution that we can begin today to start lowering the amount of HIV transmission and diminishing the new infections of this disease.
There’s an end in sight. Join the fight.