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U=U

Knowing that I can't pass HIV onto a sexual partner while I'm undetectable makes me feel much more confident about negotiating unprotected sex and not worrying so much about whether a partner is the same status as me. That HIV-positive people like me are no risk gives me hope that there will be less stigma between pos and neg gay men and within the community generally. — David

When I first heard about U=U (undetectable equals untransmittable), it really blew my mind. I've been fortunate to be on effective treatment since I was diagnosed HIV-positive in 2003, and I started testing undetectable shortly thereafter. The realisation that no one has been able to get the virus from me from a sex act during most of my HIV life is news that needs to be shouted from the rooftops! — Bruce

U=U to me is a real possibility to eradicate stigma and ultimately HIV/AIDS. Along with my work as an activist/advocate, staying undetectable is an integral part of my commitment to ending the epidemic — while considerably expanding my dating options! Knowing that we can't transmit the virus to a trusted partner (I'm single), allows us to enjoy our bodies responsibly and without fear. — Gabriel

When I won Mr Gay New Zealand as an openly HIV-positive advocate, I encountered all manner of pushback and stigma. What got me through it was the incontrovertible power of U=U, and the science behind an undetectable viral load and how that fits in the prevention landscape. Times have changed for the HIV response and now we have highly effective options. An undetectable viral load is an equaliser that helps us unpack the fear and outdated notions left over from the early years of the pandemic. But to do that, people need to get informed and stop perpetuating ignorance and obstruction. — Charlie

The first time I read an article in a medical journal reporting that being undetectable meant that I could not transfer HIV to another person, I almost did not believe it. It wasn't until I heard my own doctor confirm this information that I began to trust it. We have to provide people with information that is current, tested and factual. Now, along with condoms, providing easy access to PrEP and U=U, we can better equip people to protect themselves from contracting HIV. This allows people to relax a little more around this subject. HIV should no longer be an obstacle to love and intimacy for people living with HIV. — Eric

I think what surprises people most when I talk to them about [HIV] now is that, being on the right medication, my chances of transmitting the virus are negligible. I wish this was reported a bit more, rather than stories like ‘HIV monster goes around and infects hundreds of people’, which breed fear and always turn out to be untrue anyway. There’s still so much to be done on the ignorance and stigma side. — Cristian

Once it seemed inconceivable that someone would choose to be open about their HIV status, but now more and more people are refusing to conceal it. Social media, in particular platforms like Twitter where people can maintain partial anonymity, seem to be filling with more openly HIV-positive commentators. Gradually, the avatars are shifting from the artfully concealed faces to full on ‘stare me in the eye and know me’ pictures. Increasingly, we are talking about embracing an identity where we are openly living, without shame, not just as people with HIV but, crucially, as people with an undetectable virus. — Matt

I am still adjusting to being HIV-positive, that I cannot lie about. After all, as a gay man, my brain had been trained from a young age to fear HIV. But now, as an HIV-positive person, I know that it’s us —the people who are diagnosed, and know they have the virus, but are on medication to suppress it — who are the people taking precautions to end HIV transmission. We don’t want to, and can’t, pass on HIV. Now I know I’m healthy and can’t pass on the virus, I’m enjoying every moment life brings. — Michael

 

 

latest news

July 19, 2018
NAPWHA would like to hear from you about your experience using the MyLife+ app.
July 17, 2018
The Opposites Attract study continues to contribute to evidence demonstrating that U=U.
July 13, 2018
My Health Record is a centralised digital database housing an individual’s health information.
July 10, 2018
Although people with HIV are living longer, age-related diseases are setting in earlier, says report. 
July 5, 2018
A recent study confirms that fear of HIV continues to trump scientific knowledge of the virus.
June 22, 2018
Two years since its launch, MyLife+ is now recognised as the go-to app for people with HIV in Australia.
May 9, 2018
The federal government's budget details were released last night. Here's a community response.
March 29, 2018
We’re not talking about recovery parties here, but the post-recovery recovery when the festivities have ended.
March 21, 2018
The world has lost one of the most respected scientists in the field of HIV/AIDS, Professor David Cooper.
March 21, 2018
The cost of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is to be drastically reduced from 1 April
March 9, 2018
The job of the kidneys isn’t glamorous but they play a crucial role in helping us maintain good health.
March 9, 2018
As anticipated, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recommended PrEP for federal subsidy. 
March 9, 2018
No disease in modern history has been met with a systematic campaign to criminalise people as with HIV.
March 9, 2018
CJ Palmer has been sentenced to six years in a male prison i for the transmission of HIV to a sexual partner.
March 9, 2018
When it comes to dating and Disclosure Time, you never quite know what to expect.