Recent research has shown that only about 30% of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States have achieved viral suppression. To improve this status, it is important to ensure that all people living with HIV receive effective treatment, not only for their own health, but also to help prevent transmission to sex partners, says Nick DeLuca, PhD. To address this issue, the CDC has launched a new campaign called HIV Treatment Works.
“The main goals of the campaign are to increase the proportion of people living with HIV to enter care, begin their HIV medication, remain in care, and adhere to their treatment,” says Dr. DeLuca. “More than 100 people living with HIV completed in-depth interviews or web surveys that informed the development of the campaign’s concept and messages. People with HIV may not engage in care or will drop out of it for a number of complex reasons. We hope this campaign addresses some of these challenges and provides resources to overcome barriers to getting care and remaining in it.”
The HIV Treatment Works campaign includes a variety of mass media efforts for reaching all people living with HIV, from those who are newly diagnosed to those who have dropped out of care. “We’re involving local partners in an expanding list of cities to engage health departments, healthcare providers, and community members to become educated on the importance of HIV treatment,” says Dr. DeLuca. The campaign also features a stand-alone website developed specifically for people living with HIV (www.cdc.gov/ hivtreatmentworks) that features important information and resources. “We hope healthcare providers will refer their patients to the website to find information on how to find a medical provider, support group resources, information on living with HIV and how to pay for HIV care,” Dr. DeLuca says. Patients can also learn how to disclose their HIV status and find information on employment issues and discrimination that may present to people with HIV.
Incorporating the Campaign
“It’s important for physicians to utilize the resources we have as part of this campaign and then share them with HIV patients,” says Dr. DeLuca. “The campaign also provides feature stories and videos from people living with HIV that can help others who may be struggling with their treatment and give them a sense of hope and community by learning how others have overcome barriers to getting treatment. We also encourage providers to talk about HIV and screen for the infection in all their patients. In order to reduce the burden of HIV, it’s essential that we increase the number of people who are receiving effective care and treatment.”
CDC. HIV Treatment Works highlights benefits for those with HIV and their partners. Available at www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2014/HIV-Treatment-Works-press-release.html.
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Billings D, Leaf S, Spencer J, et al. A randomized trial to evaluate the efficacy of a web-based HIV behavioral intervention for high-risk African American women. AIDS Behav. 2015, Jan 24. [ePub ahead of print]. Available at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10461-015-0999-9.
Cote J, Godin G, Ramirez-Garcia P, et al. Virtual intervention to support self-management of antiretroviral therapy among people living with HIV. J Med Internet Res. 2015;17:e6.