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HIV Epidemic Under Control Adherence as a Matter of Public Health


By David Heitz, divvyDOSE

Perhaps one of our country’s biggest public health success stories has been getting the HIV epidemic under control. There even is a daily pill to prevent transmission of HIV.

Studies have shown the pill, known as Truvada as PrEP, is up to 99 percent effective when taken as directed. But if it’s not taken as directed, it won’t work properly. That has caused some of its detractors to cry foul. The argue that people are human and may not take the pill as directed, thereby not using condoms and putting themselves at risk with a false sense of protection.

A similar scenario applies to medications that are taken by people who already have HIV. If they take their medications as directed, it is possible for many of them to reach viral loads known as “undetectable.” One recent study showed zero transmissions of HIV among partners of mixed status (one with the disease but with an undetectable viral load and one without the disease) even after a combined 30,000 sex acts without condoms.1

Yet only three in 10 Americans with HIV have achieved that undetectable status2, and public health officials know that staying engaged in care and adhering to their medications is part of the reason why. For many, it’s simply because they can’t access health care. Maybe they live in rural areas and can’t get to a doctor. Maybe they’re a member of a stigmatized group and just don’t want to go to the doctor or to the pharmacy to pick up their HIV pills.

Or maybe they are just too busy living life to deal with all those trips to the doctor and to the pharmacy. It may be difficult to understand how people would not be 100 percent adherent to their HIV medication given the disease once was considered a death sentence, and now people diagnosed with HIV today can achieve lifespan parity with non-infected people. But it’s a reality because for many, taking the medication is considered a hassle.

To simplify taking your medications, check out the Rock Island-headquartered pharmacy divvyDOSE at www.divvyDOSE.com or call 844-693-4889.

Sources upon request
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