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A message from Ian Green, Chief Executive, Terrence Higgins Trust
I am living with HIV but, because I'm on effective treatment, I can't pass the virus on.
It's true for me and for the tens of thousands of other people living with HIV in the UK who are on effective treatment, including Lizzie (pictured above). This is because treatment reduces the amount of virus in our blood until it's so low that it is undetectable and can't be transmitted. And I want everyone to know that.
As a supporter of Terrence Higgins Trust, you may have heard about this before – but only 9% of the public know this important fact. We need to change this, so today we're launching our Can't Pass It On campaign to get the message out.
A year ago, the biggest scientific study of its kind confirmed what HIV research has indicated over many years: people who are on effective treatment can't pass on the virus.
Getting this message across can help stop HIV. One in seven people living with HIV don't know they have it. That means they're not getting treatment and they can still pass on the virus. Fear of infection is the biggest source of stigma and discrimination around HIV – and stigma is the biggest barrier that stops people testing.
Breaking the cycle of stigma is key to ending the HIV epidemic as well as improving the experiences of people living with HIV.
You can help to make this happen. Take action now and spread the big news that people living with HIV who are on effective treatment can't pass it on:
Lizzie wants everyone to know that people on effective treatment Can't Pass It On
‘Eleven years ago, I became a mother, a widow and was diagnosed as being HIV positive within 18 months. I was faced with the frightening reality that I wasn’t actually invincible, and I was living with the thought that I’m infectious.
‘But now, that’s all changed. In the last couple of years a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders, knowing that I’m not infectious; that I can’t pass HIV on.
‘The relief you get from the science backing up this message is amazing and it makes you think, “Wow, this is revolutionary.”
‘But there’s a long way to go. From the GP who asked “how I picked that up” to the dentist who wouldn’t put his gloved fingers into my mouth, I can recount countless stories of the stigma that just I have faced in the last few years.
‘We need to challenge people. We need to challenge stigma. That’s why I am backing the Can’t Pass It On campaign.’.
Ian Green, Chief Executive, Terrence Higgins Trust