10 years after the Swiss Statement. It is time people understand.
The Swiss Statement, which stated that people living with HIV on effective treatment cannot sexually transmit HIV, was published 10 years ago on January 30th, 2008. Since then several other studies have shown that treatment, besides its therapeutic benefits, also prevents the sexual transmission of HIV.
The Undetectable = Untransmittable campaign building on this scientific evidence is advocating for the rights of PLHIV to access accurate and meaningful information about their sexual and reproductive health and life. It also aims to educate the general public to remove stigma and fear still surrounding PLHIV.
The prevention effect of antiretroviral therapy was also taken into consideration when UNAIDS set its 90-90-90 targets. Reaching these treatment targets aiming at diagnosing, providing treatment and monitoring treatment effectiveness could be a milestone towards ending AIDS.
Data from UNAIDS, however, show a very different reality compared to these aspirational targets. Out of the estimated 36,7 million people living with HIV, only 19,5 million access life-saving medication and only 16 million have reached undetectable viral load. In some regions, including the Eastern European and Central Asian sub-region, the treatment cascades look even worse.
Unequal and unreliable access to HIV testing, treatment and diagnostics to monitor its effectiveness undermine all efforts towards ending AIDS. Even in countries that are close to or have reached the 90-90-90 targets certain populations or subpopulations, such as sex workers, people who use drugs, gay men and other MSM or migrants with irregular status, are overrepresented in the 10-10-10 as they face legal, regulatory barriers, stigma and discrimination in accessing HIV services.
Recognizing this inequality, the U=U campaign has added a 3rd U = Unequal to its messages, emphasizing the need for continued advocacy and fight for equal access to HIV services for all living with or affected by HIV.