Tijdens de Aids 2018 March op maandag 23 juli gaf Bruce Richman een speech over de noodzaak van U=U. Bruce Richman is de oprichter van prevention access campaign en een van de voorstrijders van U=U. Lees of bekijk de speech hier (de speech is in het Engels):
The risk from positive bodies has been exaggerated for far too long.
It’s time to Redefine what it means to live with HIV.
So, two years ago activists and researchers launched the U=U campaign to confirm and communicate a scientific fact:
A person living with HIV who is on treatment with an UDVL cannot sexually transmit HIV. Undetectable = Untransmittable or (U=U)
This changes everything.
Many of us who are positive never imagined a time when we would love, have sex, and have babies without fear. That risk has been ever-present in the most intimate moments of our lives. We have been living and dying with HIV stigma for far too long.
U=U sets us free.
We can use the science to promote adherence, modernize criminalization laws, and as a public health argument for universal access to treatment, care, and services to keep us and our partners healthy and bring us closer to ending the epidemic.
Knowledge about U=U is essential for ending the epidemic.
So why is it so hard to get people to say it?
We’re up against decades of exaggerated fears of HIV and people with HIV. Systems that overprotect HIV negative people from us at the expense of our health and human rights. Systems steeped in prejudice and paternalism that have given permission to HIV information providers (including our own HIV positive leaders) to decide for us rather than educate us, to control PLHIV rather than trust PLHIV, especially communities that are already neglected by the health care systems.
All people living with HIV have a right to accurate information about our social, sexual, and reproductive health. Withholding that information from us is an act of violence against us.
These are our bodies this is our right.
Tell the truth or we’ll tell it for you.
And WE are telling the truth – all over the world.
The U=U movement is now reaching nearly 100 countries. We’re saying K=K in Vietnam B=B in Turkey, I=I in Spain and Portugal, N=N in Netherlands and Russia. We’re playing U=U songs in Uganda, and dancing in the streets of NYC. Treatment guidelines have been updated in Vietnam and Australia, and national campaigns launched in UK, Italy, France, and many other places. Many of our activists were the first in their countries to say U=U risking their personal and professional reputations, and even their lives, to speak the lifechanging truth.
My take aways for you are:
(1) Learn the facts –Once you start telling people U=U, and I know you will, you’re going to need some backup because not everyone is going to believe you. Visit Uequals.org for all the information you’ll need to prove that it’s true.
(2) Choose Facts over Fear: Don’t allow personal trauma and anxiety to override the science. Stop scaring people! Borrow confidence from the experts. You’re sharing a message of freedom and hope. Any you really can say the risk is ZERO, you can’t pass it.
(3) Challenge authority. U=U has been an act of revolution. Many of the power structures and leaders that were meant to protect us didn’t have our backs. Hold them accountable if they’re not using every platform they have to get this information out– urgently – tell them to do their jobs. Make this a priority. We can’t be passive about this message, It’s too important.
(4) Leave no one behind – We say that a lot. It’s not just recycled rhetoric. U=U is a revolution that must include everyone. We’re tired of the gatekeepers who are telling us that trans women couldn’t handle U=U or people who inject drugs have too many complications to understand what it means to be undetectable. Or we heard that people from Africa “don’t even have cell phones” and they won’t understand. We need to teach, we need to educate, everyone deserves this information. We must use U=U as a public health argument for access to treatment, and remember that many people are not undetectable, we are not defined by lab test. And in the most extreme cases, like Venezuela, we need to use the U=U the movement to galvanize activism to give the people of Venezuela the action and attention they urgently and desperately need.
(5) Stay in community – it can be lonely on the frontier. We’re a massive diverse community that spans the globe and every key affected population. We in this together – and we leading this historic shift for people with HIV and the field.
In closing: We must treat HIV stigma is a public health emergency and U=U as an unprecedented response. Make it priority. Stigma is killing us. Zero risk means zero excuses.
It’s time to set us free.