Explanation on the U=U theory and how could PLHIV could achieve U=U status, the information is to reduce stigma and discrimination towards PLHIV.
When a person living with HIV is taking effective antiretroviral therapy, the amount of HIV in the body (known as viral load) becomes so low that it is undetectable. A person with an undetectable viral load has no chance of passing on HIV.
If you are living with HIV, the most important thing is that taking ART regularly will keep you healthy and protect your sexual partners. When you take your ART every day, the amount of HIV in your blood can become so low that a standard test cannot detect it. When your HIV is ‘undetectable’, you will not pass HIV to your sexual partners.
If you are living with HIV, adherence to your ART is the most important thing you can do to stay healthy and protect your sexual partners. When you take your ART every day, the amount of HIV in your blood can become so low that a standard test cannot detect it. When your HIV is ‘undetectable’, you will not pass HIV to your sexual partners.
ART works by decreasing HIV levels in your blood so low that standard blood tests cannot detect it. When this happens, your HIV is ‘undetectable’. The only way to keep your HIV undetectable is to continue taking your medicine everyday.
When your HIV is ‘undetectable’, you will not pass HIV through sexual intercourse. However, if you are injecting drugs, never share needles or injection equipment with anyone else. Even if your HIV is ‘undetectable’, you can still pass HIV if you share needles or injection equipment with others.
Adherence to ART will decrease your HIV levels that a standard test cannot detect it. Before your HIV is undetectable, you should always use condoms when you have sex. When you are in a relationship and your partner is HIV-negative, you may want to talk about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a medication people without HIV can take to reduce their chance of getting HIV.
Note: The information is from the international standard rated to WHO and FHI360. You will find some part of U=U information in Thai page different from the English one as it’s provided by a focus group of Thai PLHIV in 2020 related to the living and medical context of Thailand.
HIV is treated with a combination of medicines that together are called antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART is not a cure, but it can help control the virus in your body so that you can live a long, healthy and productive life and reduce your risk of transmitting HIV to others.
.ART involves taking a combination of HIV medicines at the same time, every day to prevent HIV from multiplying in your body. If you’re taking ART, even though you’ll still have HIV, the amount of virus in your body will stay small (or be reduced over time) and your body will be strong enough to protect you from disease.
Taking ART also protects your sexual partners. The less virus you have in your body, the less likely you are to transmit the virus to other people. So treatment is important for you and the people you care about!
ART makes it much less likely to transmit HIV to your partners, but it doesn’t make it impossible. Plus, ART doesn’t protect you from being re-infected with other strains of HIV, or from other sexually-transmitted infections like syphilis, gonorrhea or chlamydia, which could complicate your treatment. Even if you’re taking ART, it’s important to continue using other prevention strategies such as the use of condoms and water-based lubricant, and regular STI check-ups.
There are many different medications used to treat HIV. Which combination of medicines you take depends on your own situation. Drugs that work for one person may not work for another, so it’s important to talk with your doctor about which treatments are right for you.
Many people are concerned about side effects from ART treatment. While in the past some HIV treatments caused serious side effects, today they’re generally mild. They often occur when a patient starts treatment and go away after anywhere from a few days to a month. Common side effects include:
If you experience side effects, don’t stop taking your medicine! Talk to your doctor – you may need to change to a different combination of medicines.
The earlier you begin treatment after becoming infected with HIV, the better for your long-term health. Being on treatment also means you reduce the risk of infecting your partners with HIV. The Thailand Ministry of Public Health now supports people living with HIV to begin immediate treatment, regardless of how long you’ve been infected or the stage of your HIV disease.
If you’re on ART, it’s very important that you take it every day, at the same time, exactly as directed. ART is designed to keep HIV from multiplying in your body – if you continually miss doses, the virus may start multiplying again, and you could develop resistance. This means the medicine you’re taking can no longer stop the virus from multiplying. In this case, you would have to switch to different medicines.
If you do miss a dose, don’t panic! Unless your health care provider tells you otherwise, take the medicine you missed as soon as you realize you skipped it. But if your next treatment is due within 2 hours of less, don’t take the missed dose and instead just continue on your regular medication schedule. Don’t take a double dose of a medicine to make up for a missed dose
“Thai citizens with an identification card have the right to public funding healthcare (including HIV care and treatment) under Thailand’s universal coverage scheme (UCS).
To access your ART using your UCS, you can ask for a patient transfer letter at your primary health care unit before going to your secondary hospital mentioned in your UCS card. Specialized clinics are not everyday available, so you should contact the health care unit beforehand.
If you do not want to go to the registered hospital, you have the right to change secondary hospitals 4 times a year. In case of ‘vacant right’, meaning that you haven’t registered for any hospitals and do not have any benefits from other health schemes, you have to register and select your secondary hospital before getting HIV services.
Check the hospital in UCS system acoss Bangkok here http://bkk.nhso.go.th/pp/stat/mcupmap.php.
If you aren’t sure about your healthcare benefits, visit http://wwwback.nhso.go.th/peoplesearch or call 1330 for the National Health Security Office or 1506 to learn about social security insurance benefits.
Non-Thais seeking HIV treatment in Thailand should check the availability of universal coverage for purchase at their local public hospital.
If you have money and want to pay yourself, HIV treatment is also available in Thailand through private clinics and hospitals.”
ART is free to Thai citizens who access treatment under one of the social health protection schemes, at their designated service provider. If you choose to access treatment through a private clinic or hospital, the cost of ART is typically around 4,000 – 5,000 THB per month. Antiretroviral medications are available through the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre (TRCARC) at a cost of about 900 – 1,200 THB per month but you must be under a doctor’s supervision. (Inquiries about purchasing medications from the TRCARC can be made via their hotline at +662-252-2568 to 9 (Mon – Fri 7.30 – 4.00 hr, Sat 8.30 – 16.00 hr) or their webboard.) ART is a lifelong commitment, so when choosing a treatment option it’s important to consider how you will pay for it over time.
There are so many illicit drugs out there and we don’t know for sure if either or the combination of any of them will lower the efficacy of your HIV treatment. Thus, it’s really important to talk about your drugs consumption with your doctor. If you’re talking with doctor from our clinic partners, we guarantee that you will not be in trouble if you open up about your history of drugs use.
But here is what we know so far. If your HIV treatment contains protease inhibitors, taking meth (ice, crystal meth) and amphetamine (E, MDMA, yaba) while you’re on treatment can potentially elevate the amount of those illicit substance in your system.
This will increase significantly the negative side effect of the drug and has the potential of being fatal. If the name of your HIV medicine ends with “navir” (i.e., amprenavir, ratazanavir, and darunavir), it is likely that your medicine contains protease inhibitors. But to be 100% sure, always check with your doctor.