HIV and the Church

Once an individual is diagnosed with HIV, linkage and access to medical care is crucial. By using antiviral medication, the HIV virus can be suppressed and, overtime, achieve undetectable levels. The attainment of viral suppression means HIV cannot be spread further.

According to the latest statistics from the Joint United Nations Program for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), of the 36.7 million people living with HIV, only 60% are aware of their HIV positive status. Of this conscious 60%, less than half are currently on antiviral medication. Therefore, millions of people around the world living with HIV unaware are not able to control the virus’s impact on their bodies and are more likely to spread the disease unless precautions are taken.

While these statistics seem melancholy, one area of the world is ahead in the race to end the HIV epidemic. The UNAIDS organization has the goal of meeting it’s 90-90-90 target throughout the world by 2020. The 90-90-90 target can be achieved if “90% of people living with HIV are diagnosed; if 90% of diagnosed people are taking ART [antiviral medication]; and if 90% of people taking ART are virally suppressed.” Western and Southern Europe on their way to achieving this goal.

According to data collected at the end of 2017, a survey of eleven European countries showed an estimated 84% of those living with HIV were diagnosed, with 84% of diagnosed people taking antiviral medication, and 85% of those treated reaching viral suppression. In fact, two of those countries surveyed, Denmark and Sweden, have already achieved the 90-90-90 target.

This is a cause to celebrate. As Europe pioneers the way to a world without HIV, we can continue to raise awareness for all those infected to be aware of their positive HIV status. Once diagnoses and access to medical treatment have occurred, viral suppression can be achieved, leading to a world where more people are accessing care and we can get closer to zero new infections.




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