The Positive Side

Spring 2020 

Editor's Letter

By Dan Udy

Looking back over 40 years of HIV, we’ve come forward in leaps and bounds. Treatment for HIV is simpler, with fewer side effects, and we now know that if you have an undetectable viral load you can’t pass it on through sex. If HIV-negative folks take HIV drugs as PrEP, they can also prevent the transmission of HIV. It’s a lot to celebrate! In this issue we’re doing just that: In “Can’t Pass It On” you’ll get an inside look at CATIE’s recent U=U campaign, and in “Chatty CATIE” you’ll hear about the impact that PrEP and U=U have had on our sex lives. Changes in treatment and prevention have opened dialogue between people with and without HIV, and it’s great news.

As we take stock of how far we’ve come, though, it’s important to remember what else needs our attention. In “HIV Criminalization in Canada” we look at how people can still be prosecuted for not disclosing their HIV status before sex, but we also show where the law is slowly changing. Elsewhere, we delve into the opioid overdose epidemic in “Lessons Not Learned” which outlines how the crisis emerged and what we can do to end it. Our profile—“Stigma, Sex & Safety”—tells the story of two transgender women and their journeys with gender and HIV; it shows that although trans rights are entering the mainstream, stigma and discrimination still persist.

Also in this issue, we’ve got the answers to some of your burning questions: On page 21 we give you the lowdown on “Viral Load Blips” (spoiler: you don’t need to worry!), and in “Ask the Experts” we ask our panel all about CBD. In “Art Posi+ive” we hear from designer and activist Juan Saavedra, who uses design to ask difficult questions about power and bureaucracy.

Welcome to the Spring 2020 issue! Winter is finally over, and we’re excited to dive into the hot-button issues that matter to our readers. We’re also thankful for everyone who’s told their stories in these pages. If you’d like to contribute to an upcoming issue, we’d love to hear from you: Send any thoughts and suggestions to contribute@positiveside.ca.

—Dan Udy