U=U: A guide for service providers

 

Access to HIV testing and treatment

Research shows that initiating testing and treatment early can yield the best health outcomes for people living with HIV.1 Whenever possible, we should encourage and facilitate access to testing, and if a person receives a positive test result we should encourage them to start treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis. It is important to acknowledge that informed consent must be obtained for testing and treatment and that these services must be offered without coercion on an opt-in basis. We should ensure that the person living with HIV is both ready (feeling confident and capable of success) and prepared (in consultation with the person’s healthcare and community care providers) for treatment.

Accessible, culturally safe, and sex-positive sexual health testing services facilitate early HIV diagnosis.2 Universal coverage of HIV medication will not only improve the overall health of people living with HIV, it can also help to reduce stigma and discrimination.

U=U provides a platform for greater treatment access for all populations affected by HIV.

  1. Hosein S. Treatment Update 210: detailed results from the START study. Toronto: CATIE; 2015. Available from: https://www.catie.ca/en/treatmentupdate/treatmentupdate-210/anti-hiv-therapy/ detailed-results-start-study [accessed June 20, 2019].
  2. Ontario Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS. Focusing our efforts: changing the course of the HIV prevention, engagement and care cascade in Ontario. Toronto: Ontario Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS; 2016. Available from: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/hivaids/oach_strategy.aspx [accessed June 20, 2019].