World AIDS Day is our opportunity to show support for people living with HIV and remember those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses. Saturday 1st December is the 30th annual World AIDS Day.

This anniversary offers us the opportunity to reflect on the significant progress made in the last 30 years of HIV treatment and care. Communities across Scotland, including Greater Glasgow and Clyde, are still affected by HIV today. However HIV is now considered a manageable long term health condition, with treatments allowing people to live long, healthy lives.

In spite of this, misconceptions about HIV persist and many people experience stigma and discrimination which is often the most difficult part of living with the condition.

This year, on World AIDS Day, Sandyford are helping to promote a message that challenges this stigma and underlines the effectiveness of current HIV treatments – it’s called Undetectable=Untransmittable.

Despite the unwieldy name, Undetectable=Untransmittable (or U=U for short) is a simple message – that a person living with HIV, who achieves and maintains an undetectable viral load, cannot pass on HIV through sex.

U=U is a powerful challenge to the stigma often associated with HIV. It highlights not only that treatment can help people living with HIV to live well, but also that treatment can play a role in stopping the spread of HIV.

HIV treatments work by reducing the level of HIV in the body, to the point where it is undetectable. It can take up to six months of treatment for a person to reach this point, and they need to continue to take the treatment throughout their life in order to remain undetectable.

The science behind U=U is clear, and the challenge now is to ensure that the message reaches beyond specialists in the field.

On World AIDS Day, Sandyford encourages everyone to share the U=U message to challenge HIV stigma and reduce the spread of HIV.