December 7, 2011

December 7, 2011
Importance of Building Relationship
with Your HIV Clinic

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Wednesday and we have almost made it through the middle of another work week. I hope you are having a safe and great week so far. It has been another busy and stressful week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

For those of you reading this blog who are HIV positive... do you have a good relationship with your HIV clinic. To learn why you should have a good relationship with them read on...

New US research underlines the importance of people with HIV building a good relationship with their HIV clinics.

It showed that only 28% of all HIV-positive people in the country have an undetectable viral load.

Reducing viral load to a very low level (referred to as ‘undetectable’ because it is below the level measured by standard tests) is an important indicator of successful HIV treatment. Someone with an undetectable viral load has a lower risk of becoming ill from HIV and a low risk of transmitting HIV.

The percentage of people with an undetectable viral load was so low partly because about a fifth of all US HIV infections are as yet undiagnosed. In addition, the research found that a large proportion of people who were diagnosed lost contact with their clinic. This meant they were unable to benefit from HIV treatment.

The study had some encouraging messages about the effectiveness of modern HIV treatment. This was taken by 89% of patients who continued to go to their clinic. 77% of them achieved an undetectable viral load.

But because so many people were not receiving care, only 28% overall had an undetectable viral load.

This finding may have implications for the use of HIV treatment as prevention. The proportion of US patients with an undetectable viral load is currently so low that it is unlikely to have a major impact on the future course of the epidemic.

It’s important to note that the US healthcare system is very different to that in the UK. Recently published figures from the Health Protection Agency show better rates of linkage to care and undetectable viral load on treatment in the UK.

But the study does underline the importance of going to your clinic for regular check-ups and starting HIV treatment when it is needed.

Hope this helps you in your journey of living with HIV. Have a great Wednesday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab