New CDC Campaign Encourages HIV Treatment And Maintenance

By BTL Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. - HIV Treatment Works, a communication campaign focused exclusively on encouraging treatment and care for people living with HIV, was launched Sept. 17 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The campaign is the first of its kind by the CDC and aims to get more Americans living with HIV to stay in care and take treatment.

Treatment, especially for those starting antiretroviral drugs right after diagnosis, helps people with HIV live longer and healthier lives, and it prevents the spread of HIV. Yet, only 1 in 4 of the 1.1 million Americans living with HIV have an undetectable viral load. This means the virus is at a level that provides maximum health benefits and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others.

"Today, not only can HIV treatment save lives, it can help stop a national epidemic in its tracks," said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., M.P.H., director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. "Our goal is to help everyone with HIV know the tremendous health benefits treatment offers to them and the protection it provides to their partners."

In addition to the positive impact it can have on a person's health and well-being, people who start and continue treatment are 96 percent less likely to transmit HIV to others. Treatment for health and prevention is a key element in the CDC's HIV prevention toolkit.

Developed with the input of more than 100 HIV-positive men and women, HIV Treatment Works reflects the diversity of people living with HIV and shows how treatment and care empowers people to lead full and healthier lives, and stops the spread of HIV. The campaign includes personal stories about how the participants overcame barriers to care and treatment and provides advice for others living with HIV.

Components of the campaign include online, print, TV and outdoor ads. Additionally, the campaign includes social media outreach and a dedicated website with information and resources for people living with HIV. The campaign will initially be promoted at upcoming community events in Atlanta, Miami and Washington, D.C.

"It wasn't easy finding out I had HIV, but deciding to start and stick to my treatment has helped me live a happier, healthier life," said Aaron Laxton, who appears in the campaign ads. "The idea of starting treatment can be daunting, but it's important to remember you aren't alone - and that by taking HIV medication every day and seeing your doctor regularly, you can stay healthy and keep doing the things you love."

HIV Treatment Works is the latest campaign of the CDC's Act Against AIDS initiative, a national communication campaign to combat complacency about HIV in the United States. The campaign also advances the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which includes decreasing the number of new infections, reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and educating Americans about the threat of HIV and how to prevent it. Other Act Against AIDS efforts include Start Talking, Stop HIV for gay and bisexual men of all races, Reasons/Razones targeting Latino gay and bisexual men, Take Charge and Take the Test for African American women.

For more information about HIV Treatment Works, click here.
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