I’m Dr. Demetre. I’m an HIV doctor and these are five things I want you to know about HIV today.
U=U stands for undetectable is equal to untransmittable. So, what that means is that if you are living with HIV and you’re taking your medicines and your viral load is low, below the limit of detection of the lab, you can’t transmit to your sexual partners. Let me say that again. People whose viral load is undetectable cannot transmit to their sexual partners.
I remember people had to take pills three times a day with food, without food, with water. Now, for most people, treatment can be down to one pill a day, like brushing your teeth and all the other things that you would do as a matter of routine.
If you don’t want to take a pill a day, there’s options open to many people to be able to get an injection once every couple of months.
PrEP is pre-exposure prophylaxis. It is HIV medication that people who do not have HIV can take and it prevents HIV infection. It can come as a daily pill. It can come as what we call episodic PrEP or 211. And then there’s also injectable PrEP. We expanded what the options are to make sure that you don’t get HIV.
Post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP, is medication that you take kind of in a more emergency way. You have to do it as quick as possible, but no longer than 72 hours after the exposure. So, if you need post-exposure prophylaxis, drop the phone, go to the ER and urgent care.
So, testing has taken lots of quantum leaps. Whether it’s a finger stick or an oral swab, it can give you your HIV result often in a minute to 20 minutes. So, really, really fast. And then the other option is to get a self test. It’s really exciting, because that self test gives people the flexibility to do testing, whether it’s your home or somewhere else, it doesn’t matter.