Tiếng Việt | English

26/09/2019 - 19:34

Undetectable equals Untransmittable (K equals K)

Long An newspaper reporter had an interview with Deputy Director of the U.S. CDC Office in Vietnam - Paula Isabel Morgan about the meaning and scientific evidence of Undetectable equals Untransmittable, K equals K (Không phát hiện bằng Không lây truyền in Vietnamese) .

Long An newspaper reporter had an interview with Deputy Director of the U.S. CDC Office in Vietnam - Paula Isabel Morgan

Reporter: Why is K equals K so important and what is the scientific evidence to support K=K?

Ms. Paula Isabel Morgan: Called U equals U in English, or Undetectable equals Untransmittable, K equals K (Không phát hiện bằng Không lây truyền in Vietnamese) research findings from 4 major studies of over 3,000 couples and 106,000 condomless sex acts show that when people living with HIV are on effective treatment and have an undetectable viral load - meaning the level of HIV virus in the body is so low that it cannot be detected - there is zero risk of transmission of HIV to sexual partners. 

To date, over 916 organizations from 98 countries have endorsed and supported these findings in their countries and communities. Vietnam is one of the first countries to endorse K=K through National Guidelines, which were released earlier this month (on September 6, 2019) to disseminate the K=K message throughout the country and guide provinces on K=K communication.

From a scientific perspective, the incredible findings of K equals K confirm with absolute clarity and confidence what clinicians and people living with HIV have seen and experienced. 
 
From a community perspective, K equals K means that HIV stigma should be eradicated and that no barriers to knowing their HIV status should exist for key populations and those at-risk.   
 
From a programmatic perspective, K equals K means that we should encourage HIV testing for all at-risk individuals, with the aim of early treatment with antiretroviral medications for those living with HIV, and pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for prevention among those who are HIV-negative.  In this way, we can stop forward transmission of HIV.

From an individual perspective, K equals K is transformative. Once on effective treatment, people living with HIV no longer need to fear that they might transmit HIV to their sex partners, which has been a main pillar of stigma.  They can now lead healthy, fulfilling, joyful lives without this heavy burden.  Those who are HIV-negative do not need to fear sexual transmission through a positive partner who has an undetectable viral load. Successful HIV treatment and PrEP are the most effective ways to prevent HIV transmission, period.

Vietnam is a global leader of K equals K, since your early adoption of these findings through policy and programming. We can truly say that K equals K is a powerful message for the HIV community here.
 
Reporter: What do community and key populations (KP) need to do to contribute to the success of the K=K message?

Ms. Paula Isabel Morgan: Key populations, people affected by HIV, and the broader public and community play a crucial role in the success of the K=K message—by embracing these findings, disseminating them, and leveraging them for public health purposes and to end the HIV epidemic in our lifetime. 

K=K is central to reducing HIV-related stigma, which is a primary barrier preventing people at risk for infection from getting tested and receiving HIV services. 

For KP communities, whose members are at increased risk for HIV infection, K=K is incredibly important to encourage people to know their HIV status, and to do so without fear of the result. For those who test positive, they can enroll in free treatment—typically the very same day. If they take their antiretroviral drugs every day as prescribed, within a year they can be confirmed as undetectable and have no fear of transmitting the virus sexually. 

And for those at risk who test negative, PrEP can be offered. Through a single pill taken each day, PrEP can effectively prevent HIV among those who are at risk. 

Through community support, advocacy, and celebration of K=K, we can normalize HIV and meet epidemic control in Vietnam./.

Edited by Cao Xuan Mai

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