Spokane Joins Undetectable = Untransmittable HIV Prevention Campaign
For more information, contact Kim Papich, SRHD Public Information Officer (509) 324-1539 or firstname.lastname@example.org
U=U relies on scientific findings that confirm that people living with HIV, who are on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and have achieved an undetectable viral load in their blood, have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their partners. Since treatment keeps people living with HIV from transmitting the virus, the concept is known as “treatment as prevention.”
"Understanding that successful HIV treatment with ART prevents HIV sexual transmission can help reduce HIV-related stigma and encourage people living with HIV to initiate and adhere to a successful treatment regimen," said Stacie Lechot, SRHD HIV/AIDS Case Management manager.
As SRHD continues its work to promote health and quality of life in Spokane County, it’s crucial to promote U=U and related access to the diagnostics, treatment and care that people living with HIV need to achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load. A list of SRHD’s HIV/STD services can be found on its site at srhd.org/programs-and-services/hiv-std-services.
The number of new HIV cases in Spokane County is usually between 20 to 25 cases annually—in 2016, 23 new cases were detected in the county. As of Dec. 31, 2016, 560 individuals in Spokane County were living with HIV, 72 percent of them had a suppressed viral load.
Beyond helping to reduce viral loads, SRHD continues its work in the community to promote consistent and correct condom use, routine HIV screening, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent sexual transmission of HIV.
Spokane is the 750th community to become a U=U partner, joining organizations from more than 90 countries. In July 2018, Washington State Department of Health announced it was the sixth state health department to join the campaign, in addition to science endorsements from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.
For more information, visit srhd.org. The health district’s website also offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.