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Give people with HIV the chance to end the epidemic says Community Statement

Brussels/London, 27 February 2014:

We have the chance to end the HIV epidemic, a group of organisations said today. But it cannot end until all people with HIV can both access treatment - and choose when to take it.

You can see and sign on to the Statement at

The Statement was co-authored by the European AIDS Treatment Group and NAM ( ) and is endorsed by over 30 prominent organisations in the field of HIV prevention and advocacy, including the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+).

The statement says that partnership and communication between people with HIV and their healthcare providers is essential to stop transmission of the virus. People with HIV need to be given the choice and power to take treatment in the way and at the time that suits their lifestyle and does not expose them to stigma; healthcare providers should value their opinions and initiate treatment as part of a shared decision. People will only consistently take treatment they feel happy about. This will help ensure their treatment will work - which makes it much less likely that they will pass on HIV to anyone else.

The Statement notes:

  • Antiretroviral therapy (ART) reduces the chance of someone passing on HIV by over 96%.
  • For many people, fear of infecting others is one of the worst burdens of having HIV
  • More testing and treatment of people with HIV is a vital part of ending the HIV epidemic.
  • Some countries are introducing or considering laws to compel people to test for HIV.
  • Those most likely to test positive - sex workers, gay men, migrants, prisoners, people who use drugs - also face stigma, violence and prosecution.
  • Attempting to compel testing and treatment is likely to result in social harm for little public health gain
  • The Statement says: "In many countries, the vulnerable populations that need ART most have the worst access to HIV services. The prevention benefits of ART cannot be realised until these are addressed."

    Anna Zakowicz, Co-chair of GNP+, said: "The community will have a vital role as a service provider if we are to implement access to ART for all who need it but have limited access to it now: people who use drugs, sex workers, migrants, women, gay men and prisoners. If we, civil society, can ensure the wellbeing of every patient is at the centre of all the decisions connected with HIV testing and linkage to treatment and care, we have won the fight."

    Brian West, Chair of EATG, said: "All people living with HIV should have access to ART and to the knowledge about how it is best used for them to control their HIV - and to protect against onward transmission. Their choice on their terms."

    An online press conference will mark the launch of the statement on 27 February 2014 at 14.00 hours GMT. Please register here to take part:

    Community Consensus Statement on antiretroviral therapy as prevention KEY POINTS

  • The aim of the statement is to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all people with HIV, and their freedom and power to take, or not to take, HIV treatment.
  • If someone takes HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy or ART), it greatly reduces their chance of passing on their HIV to others.
  • ART can potentially free people with HIV from a huge burden of guilt, blame and anxiety about infecting others.
  • Taking HIV treatment to reduce one's infectiousness is a benefit, not a responsibility.
  • ART can also reduce the overall infectiousness of people with HIV, and over time reduce the number of people with HIV in the community.
  • ART as prevention can invigorate or challenge traditional HIV prevention methods.
  • Taking ART is a decision people need time to consider; they should not be pressured into it.
  • Providers should establish that the person wishes to take ART of their own free choice.
  • We oppose any proposals to use compulsory HIV testing or compulsory ART as a public health measure
  • Providing ART for prevention must not deprive people who need it for treatment.
  • ART should not be adopted as the sole component of HIV prevention programmes and should not replace existing effective methods.
  • ART cannot prevent most other sexually transmitted infections.
  • In many places, people who most need ART have the worst access to it.
  • This is largely due to stigma, persecution and criminalisation. The prevention benefits of ART cannot be realised till these are addressed.
  • Many people, with and without HIV, are unaware of ART's prevention potential; they need clear and accurate information about it.
  • ART will not succeed, either as treatment or prevention, without free or affordable access to tolerable drugs and the support to take them.
  • The cost of ART may have to decrease further for it to fulfil its potential as a way of stopping HIV.
  • ART by itself will not end the HIV epidemic - but it is an essential component of what it will take to end it.
  • ENDS

    Community consensus on treatment as prevention EATG and NAM have collaborated on the development of the community consensus statement. For further information about this project please email or call Zoe at NAM on +44 (0) 20 3242 0823.

    The European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG, ) EATG is a European network of nationally-based volunteer activists comprising of more than 110 members from 40 countries in Europe. Our members are representatives of different communities affected by HIV/ AIDS in Europe. Since its foundation, the EATG has been at the forefront of the development of the civil society response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Europe. Access to the best available treatment for all people, at different stages of infection across Europe is a major goal.

    NAM ( NAM is a community-based organisation and registered charity that supports people living and working with HIV by providing accurate, impartial, and up-to-date information about HIV/AIDS. We believe independent, clear and accurate information is vital in the global management of HIV. We have a world-wide reputation for providing high-quality information reflecting the latest developments in HIV and related fields. To find out more about NAM and our work please visit contact Community

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