U=U anti-stigma messaging about HIV endorsed by Public Health Sudbury and Districts

SUDBURY – Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) is formally endorsing the Undetectable=Untransmittable (U=U) campaign (prevention Access Campaign), which promotes scientific evidence that an undetectable HIV viral load effectively poses no risk of HIV transmission.

“People living with HIV experience stigma which can undermine their access to prevention, testing, and treatment services. The U=U campaign aims to reduce this stigma and is an important step towards community acceptance of people living with HIV,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer of health for PHSD.

People living with HIV who take antiretroviral therapy as prescribed can lead a healthy life. Treatment can effectively stop the virus from multiplying to the point where it is so low and ‘undetectable’ that it cannot be passed to others through sex.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is caused by a virus that attacks the immune system. The virus is found in blood and other bodily fluids and is spread to others through sexual activities or through exposure to the blood and bodily fluids of an infected person. Advances in treatment and timely interventions and supports have allowed people living with HIV to manage their illness and live a healthy life.

The U=U campaign is based on the following scientific evidence—when a person living with HIV takes antiretroviral therapy medications consistently as prescribed and maintains a confirmed suppressed viral load, there is effectively no risk of them passing the infection on to their sexual partners. 

PHSD joins more than 760 organizations from nearly 20 countries who endorse the U=U consensus statement (Prevention Access Campaign).

In 2015, an estimated 182 people were living with HIV in PHSD’s region. Of those 182, 84 percent were in care, 74 percent were on antiretroviral therapy and 69 percent were virally suppressed.

Between 2013 and 2017, a total of 29,188 HIV tests were completed for residents of PHSD’s service area with an average HIV positivity rate of 0.14 percent locally.

More information about U=U can be found at CATIE (Canada’s source for HIV and hepatitis C information) and on its Canadian connection at U=U.