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Institute of Population Health Sciences leader calls for next step in transforming HIV care

Jane Anderson, an honorary professor at Queen Mary’s Institute of Population Health Sciences, addressed members of the European Parliament and other policymakers as part of a major HIV initiative this week.

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An HIV cell
An HIV cell

The initiative calls for new approaches in healthcare and social policy to reflect what can be complex long-term needs of the increasing numbers of people living with the virus for many decades because of the success of antiretroviral treatments.

Professor Anderson guest edited a special series of articles in The Lancet HIV, ‘HIV outcomes Beyond Viral Suppression’, that welcome the dramatic advances in lifespan over the last 20 years for people with HIV who access appropriate care.

New policies and approaches

However, reflecting today’s reality for people with HIV, the articles call for new policies and approaches to delivering person-centred and integrated care and reducing stigma and discrimination.

The series was published in the run-up to World Aids Day on Sunday.

Professor Anderson, who co-chairs the pan European HIV Outcomes Initiative, says: “As life expectancy for people living with HIV has increased, new and unmet requirements for achieving good long-term health and wellbeing have emerged. Our Call to Action highlights the importance of promoting wellbeing, preventing and treating co-existing medical conditions and eliminating stigma and discrimination.

“We must celebrate the fact that people living with HIV who are able to access the right treatment can have a near-normal lifespan. However, we know that for many people living with HIV, health-related quality of life needs to be improved.  Taking action on prevention and treatment can both reduce the long term costs to health systems and ensure that people are able to live productive lives. .”

Need to address HIV-associated stigma

She explained that the event, organised by a group of members of the European Parliament, also highlighted the need to address HIV-associated stigma and discrimination, in particular within health care settings.

HIV Outcomes Initiative is an international alliance of experts that seeks to influence policymakers and healthcare providers to address the wider health and social wellbeing of people living with HIV. The Call to Action proposes that ‘quality of life’ should become a fourth component in the UNAIDs 90-90-90 goals. The existing goals are that 90 per cent of people with HIV should be diagnosed, that 90% of those with a diagnosis have access to sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of people receiving antiretroviral therapy have viral suppression (ie, the virus is at undetectable levels).

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Chris Mahony
Faculty Communications Manager (Medicine and Dentistry)
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