Don’t Turn Your Back on the Fact

Treatment as Prevention (TasP) is a new strategy to end the epidemic and could successfully stop HIV in its tracks.  Nearly 28% of transgender women test positive for HIV.  18% of the HIV+ population in America is unaware of their status.   Getting tested and knowing your status is the first step toward ending the epidemic.  Approximately 73% of HIV+ transgender women do not know their status.  Treatment as Prevention (TasP) has significantly improved life expectancy in HIV+ individuals from months to decades.  Treatment as Prevention (TasP) can reduce the risk of transmitting HIV by 96%.  More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV.  Only 50% of HIV+ individuals in the United States remain in care.  The Obama administration has helped create our nation's first-ever HIV/AIDS strategy.  HIV/AIDS issues are bottom-of-the-list priorities for many LGBTQ organizations in the United States.  If every HIV+ person in the world adhered to TasP, the HIV epidemic would end within 50 years.  From 2008 to 2010, new HIV infections remained steady in the general public but rose 22% in young gay men.  Gay men represent two-thirds of new HIV infections in America.  6,000 gay men die of AIDS every year.  If HIV continues to spread at its current rates, more than half of college-aged gay men will have HIV by the age of 50.  An astounding 44% of infected gay men do not know they have contracted HIV.

Introducing LGBTQ+

 

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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%.
  3. 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.