AIDS: the fight is not over
IRIS Estrie, the local AIDS awareness organization, took advantage of World AIDS Day on December 1 to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The organization used opportunity to remind people that the fight is not over. In fact, awareness and prevention are at the heart of the concerns of communitybased HIV / AIDS organizations.
According to CATIE, a Canadian resource on AIDS and Hepatitis C information, "Until five years ago, [...] public health messages about the risk of sexual transmission of HIV in the presence of undetectable viral load were still unclear.” In 2017, several studies confirmed that for a person whose viral load (amount of virus in the blood) is undetectable (very, very low) the virus is not transmissible. These scientific breakthroughs are changing the way it is now possible for a person who is following their treatment well, to not transmit HIV to an Hiv-negative person.
According to estimates by the Public Health Agency of Canada (2016), approximately "14 per cent of people living with HIV do not know they have it. For a person to be treated and to maintain good health, HIV testing is a crucial step. As the theme of World AIDS Day this year is "Know your status! IRIS Estrie is inviting the population to take a screening test.
"It's simple, fast, and accessible to everyone,” said Executive Director Claudia Pâquet. “Screening is the first step in the fight against HIV / AIDS."
In addition to screening, the organization offers and encourages other HIV prevention strategies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PREP) for Hiv-negative people, adoption of safer sex practices, the importance of treatment in HIV, and the regular use of condoms.
IRIS Estrie organization recognizes that more needs to be done to overcome the myths and prejudices associated with HIV as well as to combat the discrimination experienced by people living with this virus.