In the United States, HIV/AIDS has much less of a frightening stigma than it did in the 1980s. With education, prevention, testing, and more treatment options available, HIV/AIDS is normalized to the point that people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) can remain virtually non-impacted. As more is done to de-stigmatize, educate, and treat, the instances of HIV/AIDS decrease. The epidemic will end when drugs are publicized and available to all who need them.
Education around HIV/AIDS takes place in a variety of settings, including health groups, forums, and meetings. The Ryan White program through the United States federal government provides dollars to community health care organizations who treat HIV/AIDS patients. Money goes to salaries of health care professionals and to resources that support treatment, such as housing, transportation, and other potential barriers to care. Education to both consumers and providers is critical in order to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic altogether.
Prevention for HIV/AIDS is now available in the form of a pill called PrEP. Prescribed by doctors, PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is taken once a day at the same time each day, and effectively prevents against HIV/AIDS.
Testing centers include community health centers, hospitals, community health care vehicles, and nonprofit groups. HIV testing should be done properly and accurately. Check with your clinic to make sure the testing they do is done correctly. These centers should also offer treatment plans and options for future treatment.
Treatment is more affordable and advanced than ever before. One pill regimens like Genvoya make taking medication simple. AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) are available to help cut costs of medications, even reducing them to completely free for many patients. Medications, labs, and regular doctor’s office visits are included in treatment plans for PLWHA. When on consistent treatment, PLWHA are very likely to reach non-detectable viral loads, which makes the virus nearly impossible to transmit.
Challenges toward eradicating HIV/AIDS are mostly related to decreased funds. Due to governmental shifts in the United States, there are fewer Ryan White funds available for education, testing, prevention, and treatment.
Truly, HIV/AIDS will cease to exist when prevention, testing, and treatment are accessible to each and every person. In the industry, this is called the goal of “Getting to Zero.” The further the conversation continues; the better chances are for eradication. With more time and effort, this is a real possibility.
Author: Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.