Canada takes action by endorsing global declaration on Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U)
U=U accelerates progress towards national and global goals to end the HIV epidemic
MONTREAL, July 28, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ - Public Health Agency of Canada
Thanks to the advances in HIV science over the last four decades, people living with HIV who are on medication and maintain an undetectable amount of virus in their blood can lead a long, healthy life without the fear of passing HIV to their sexual partner. This is the powerful message behind "Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U)"
Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced Canada's endorsement for a global declaration on Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U). This builds on Canada's leadership as the first country to formally endorse the U=U campaign in 2018.
The U=U message is linked to factors known to impact quality of life and health outcomes, including decreased stigma, improved self-image, better mental health, and greater comfort sharing status with partners, making it a key tool for combatting HIV-related stigma.
People living with HIV who are informed about U=U are more likely to report optimal mental, physical and sexual health. Knowledge of U=U increases uptake in HIV testing, treatment and achieving viral suppression, all of which supports the global goal of ending HIV and AIDS as a public health concern by 2030. This life-changing science has transformed what it means to live and love with HIV across the globe.
To-date, more than 1,000 official U=U partners from all sectors in 105 countries have signed on to the campaign to share the message. The global declaration on U=U endorsed today takes the global commitment to U=U one step further by recognizing the value of the message as a tool to advance efforts to end HIV as a public health concern, and by committing countries to integrate U=U into their policies and programs. Canada endorses the U=U campaign and the global declaration on U=U, and encourages other countries to do the same.
"Helping people living with HIV have a healthy and stigma-free life is exactly what Canada's endorsement of U=U is all about. Today, we are reiterating our commitment to build U=U into our policies and programs to help prevent new infections and ensure that individuals living with HIV and AIDS receive the ongoing care, treatment, and support they need."
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos Minister of Health
"Canada's endorsement of the U=U campaign will be vital in confronting the stigma and discrimination that has impacted the HIV community. Making U=U a core component of our policies and programs helps us better address systemic inequities and decrease barriers to care so that those affected by HIV have the support they need to live a healthy life. "
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister of Health
The Government of Canada is committed to the global goal of ending HIV and AIDS as a public health concern by 2030.
This commitment includes meeting the 95-95-95 targets by 2025, that 95% of all people living with HIV know their status, 95% of those diagnosed receive antiretroviral treatment and 95% of those on treatment achieve viral suppression.
At the end of 2020, approximately 63,000 people were living with HIV in Canada. Among those, an estimated 90% were diagnosed and 87% of those diagnosed were on treatment. Canada estimates 95% of people are on treatment having suppressed viral loads.
To help meet the 95-95-95 targets, the Government of Canada:
provides HIV screening and testing guidance to health professionals,
supports robust community-based projects to strengthen prevention and access to testing and treatment services, and
undertakes HIV surveillance to monitor progress and better understand the drivers of the epidemic.
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