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App gives new lease on life
Cam Clarkson is a rugby enthusiast who did not want to give away his passion for the sport when he was diagnosed HIV-positive two years ago. “When I found out I was HIV-positive I wanted to know the facts. The trouble is, there’s so much information out there and it’s not all up to date.”
Cam believes that a lack of education is the single greatest barrier for overcoming HIV stigma. He looks to the hard facts, the science, when he considers his HIV status. “There’s still a lot of misunderstanding around HIV and that’s what fuels stigma. People aren’t aware of the facts and just how far we’ve come with HIV treatment. If I’m taking my meds and taking care of my health, my HIV really isn’t an issue.”
MyLife+ is a new, world-first app for PLHIV, with unique tools to help people living with HIV to take more control of their health and wellbeing. Cam’s been using the new MyLife+ app to keep a record of his blood results and monitor his viral load, as well as to keep track of his moods and pay greater attention to his general wellbeing.
“The app is great for helping me make wins with my health every day, whether it be reminding me to do something to improve my mood, or helping me manage my health schedule,” says Cam.
“We often forget to celebrate our wins with HIV and remembering to take our meds and gaining an undetectable viral load —that’s something we should be celebrating.”
People with HIV can use the MyLife+ app to keep track of their viral load and know when they’re undetectable, meaning there’s a very low risk they can pass on HIV to others. Cam created the [u+] symbol as a way of communicating to people on social media and dating apps that he’s HIV-positive and undetectable.
“I created [u+] as something we can use being HIV-positive to tell people right from the offset: ‘I’m HIV positive but I’m completely fine and I’m taking care of my health’. It’s time we started celebrating the fact that we’re positive and healthy — it wasn’t possible 20 years ago, but a lot has changed since then. We’ve come a long way.
“I want other people to realise that an HIV-positive diagnosis isn’t the end of the world or that it’s something that’s going to turn your life completely upside down. It’s been two years now and I’m completely at peace with my status. I can still do anything I could do before I became HIV-positive; I just need to take better care of my health.”