HIV Then and Now – We’ve come a long way

Advances in HIV treatment and care have improved the lives of those living with the disease

Interior Health has launched a new campaign to show how advances in HIV treatment and care have improved the lives of those living with the disease. The campaign aims to break down stereotypes that prevent people from being tested and accessing life-saving treatment.

The “HIV Then & Now” campaign builds on the momentum of Interior Health’s innovative “My Health is Sexy” campaign which was launched in December 2014. The “HIV Then and Now” campaign tells the stories of people who are living with HIV today. It puts faces to a disease that just 20 years ago, in the absence of effective treatment, often progressed to AIDS and equalled a death sentence. Today, people receiving treatment for HIV can expect to live long, healthy lives free of symptoms.

“For us to achieve an AIDS-free generation within our lifetime we need to address the stigma and fear related to HIV, says Dr. Trevor Corneil, Medical Health Officer with Interior Health. “Stigma stops people from being tested and starting treatment. This campaign shows how extraordinary advances in treatment have transformed HIV into a manageable disease that no longer needs to be feared.”

The campaign shares the stories of two B.C. men. Dale from Kamloops who was diagnosed with HIV in 2004 and Michael from Vancouver who was diagnosed in 2007.

“My life fell apart when I was first diagnosed with HIV. I refused treatment and gave up on my life because I thought I was already dead but I was wrong,” says Dale. “Once I started treatment, everything changed. I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. I own a home and a business and have been reunited with my family. Just three pills a day are all it’s taken to transform my life.”

“I was stunned, shocked, and traumatized when I was told I had HIV. I was scared that I would be constantly sick, either from HIV or from the medications I would have to take to suppress the virus,” says Michael. “Instead of being a death sentence, my HIV status has helped me turn my life around. And treatment has been easier than I ever imagined. I take one pill a day and have no side effects.”

Interior Health’s “HIV Then & Now” campaign is part of the innovative Seek and Treat for Optimal Prevention of HIV/AIDS (STOP HIV/AIDS) program, which aims to increase HIV testing rates, reduce HIV transmission and improve the health outcomes of those living with HIV. In British Columbia, it is estimated that approximately 3,500 people are living with HIV and are unaware of their status.

The only way to know for sure if someone has HIV and to engage that person in treatment is through a test. Early diagnosis of HIV supports optimal health outcomes for infected individuals and reduces the likelihood of transmission to others. Since Interior Health launched the program in 2012, testing in the region has increased by 32 per cent.

For more information:

•  Then and Now campaign: http://myhealthissexy.com/then-and-now.php

• My Health is Sexy Campaign: http://www.myhealthissexy.com

•  STOP HIV/AIDS: http://stophivaids.ca/

 

Just Posted

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

teaser
Dynamic drives and pitiful putting helped even the score

Another Ladies’ Night has come and gone. This season is passing by… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Traffic cop humour

He demands to know what sort of device had been used to measure his speed

(L-r) Cody Lee with six-year-old daughter Paisley, and Joshua Burleigh with his seven-year-old son Noah are extremely thankfull to Heffley Creek residents and First Responders for the help they received after their canoe capsized in rapids on the North Thompson River on Sunday, June 13. (Facebook photo)(L-r) Cody Lee with six-year-old daughter Paisley, and Joshua Burleigh with his seven-year-old son Noah are extremely thankfull to Heffley Creek residents and First Responders for the help they received after their canoe capsized in rapids on the North Thompson River on Sunday, June 13. (Facebook photo)
North Thompson River canoe trip almost ends in disaster

‘Only way I managed to get us to shore was the thought of not letting my boy drown’

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Phil McLachlan/(Black Press Media
Man shot at Kamloops shopping centre

The man is believed to be in stable condition

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read