Canada has signed on to global targets to eliminate HIV and hepatitis C as public health threats by 2030. While ambitious, these targets are now a realistic possibility thanks to the effectiveness of modern medications. HIV treatment can suppress the virus so successfully that HIV-positive Canadians who start treatment early can have life expectancies similar to their HIV-negative peers. This also prevents the transmission of HIV to their sexual partners. And most Canadians treated for hepatitis C are now cured within weeks.
En énonçant les objectifs 90-90-90 en 2014, l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé et l’ONUSIDA proposaient une impulsion nouvelle : notre génération pourrait voir la fin de l’épidémie du sida. Nombreuses sont les voies possibles pour arriver à ce résultat, et les initiatives de riposte accélérée des Villes, les Fast Track Cities, en sont une.
C’est à Paris le 1er décembre 2014 qu’est né ce modèle des Villes sans sida, issu d’un constat : les 200 villes les plus touchées abritent à elles seules plus du quart des 35 millions de personnes vivant avec le VIH. En s’impliquant dans la riposte au VIH, les villes ajoutent leur leadership dans la création de stratégies locales.
The past few years have been a rollercoaster for those of us most impacted by HIV. The use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) by people who are HIV-negative has gone from being discredited and shamed to become one of the keystones of a renewed and revitalized push to “end the HIV epidemic”. The other life-changing piece of research is the landmark PARTNER study that showed us, once and for all, that the sexual transmission of HIV does not occur in people whose viral loads are undetectable. The joyous global uptake of the U=U message has been nothing short of inspirational.
I don’t really like medical spaces. For me, they’re not just spaces that are essential to my health, but also spaces of exclusion and trauma.
How often have I heard about people from my communities being refused care? A chronic migraine blamed on hormones. An open wound left unbandaged because they “don’t have the expertise necessary to deal with that kind of people”. And what about inappropriate questions, wrong names on files, or deadnames read out loud in the waiting room, in front of everyone?
A test is a test, right? I’ve struggled with the issues of why HIV testing matters over the last 25 years, and over that time I’ve seen the ebb and flow of debates and discussions on why testing is still an important issue for Canada. I’ve also seen the frustration among those who do not have access to testing and why that matters. Yes, knowing your HIV status is still an important health issue for Canadians. However, with the complex array of debates on the pros and cons of testing, including the very real concerns about confidentiality; the need for pre- and post-test counselling; limited access to testing innovations such as point-of-care testing (POCT); the gendered nature of testing along with some popular misconceptions about it, there is definitely room for improvement moving forward. Simply put: We can and must do better in our national leadership around HIV testing issues in this country.
The CATIE Blog hosts the views and opinions of people and organizations working and volunteering in Canada’s response to HIV and hepatitis C.