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Opinion | HIV is still with us. Get tested, and get treated

One in eight people in Michigan are unaware of their HIV status. HIV has been around for decades and we know so much about the virus. Even with all the knowledge we have around HIV, new cases of HIV continue to occur each year despite advances in treatments and prevention.

On March 10th, we observed Women’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This observance is an opportunity to increase HIV education, testing, community involvement and treatment among women.

LaDawn Tate
LaDawn Tate is chairperson of the Southeast Michigan HIV/AIDS Council. (Courtesy photo)

There have been many great advancements in HIV prevention and treatment. Medical evidence shows that people with a higher risk of being exposed to HIV can take a medication called Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) that will significantly lower the chances of contracting the virus. The science is also clear that people living with HIV who are on effective treatment can lower their viral load to the point where they cannot pass HIV to partners through sex.

For those living with HIV, “undetectable equals untransmittable” is a treatment regimen that work to reduce the amount of virus in the body to a point where it is no longer transmittable. Taking HIV medication as prescribed can help people living with HIV achieve an undetectable status. If you are living with HIV, call your doctor or local health department and ask about HIV treatment.

It is important that we come together as members of the community to break the stigma of HIV.

As we come together to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS, let us pledge to get tested and know our statuses so that we can end the stigma of this virus. For more information about HIV or to find testing locations, you can visit Michigan.gov/HIVSTD or call the Unified HIV/STD hotline at 800-872-2437.

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan. Bridge does not endorse any individual guest commentary submission. If you are interested in submitting a guest commentary, please contact Ron French. Click here for details and submission guidelines.

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