Online seminar will explore U=U for women living with HIV

In the lead up to World AIDS Day commemorations on 1st December, an Australian-first webinar led by women living with HIV will dispel outdated myths, highlighting the message that successful HIV treatment eliminates the risk of transmission of HIV to sexual partners.

Known in shorthand as Undetectable=Untransmittable, or U=U, this webinar introduces audiences to more than 20 years of scientific evidence that underpins this message of hope and liberation, confirming that when antiretroviral treatment is used, and levels of HIV cannot be detected in blood, HIV is not transmitted during sexual contact or to a baby during pregnancy and childbirth.

There is also growing evidence that supports mothers with HIV with an undetectable viral load and with healthcare support can also breastfeed their baby.

In this ground breaking webinar, a panel of women living with HIV are joined by a leading Australian infectious diseases physician, to share stories and knowledge about how this fact has transformed their lives, discussing issues around motherhood, sex, and relationships.

Webinar facilitator Sarah Feagan has a powerful personal story and in-depth knowledge of how U=U challenges stigma. Guest speaker and panellist is Jessica Whitbread from Canada, who is an international HIV advocate for the U=U message. Michelle Tobin, HIV advocate and Aboriginal Health Program Officer with Positive Life NSW and chair of Anwernekenhe HIV Alliance, And Jackie Roberts, an advocate for ending HIV stigma and a former board director with Positive Women Victoria will also share what U=U has meant to her life.

Associate Professor Edwina Wright who specialises in HIV Medicine and HIV Clinical Research, and will join the panel to answer webinar participants’ questions about the science that confirms the U=U message.

Positive Women Victoria Executive Officer Dr Kirsty Machon said the U=U Is Your Story Too Webinar For Women is a wonderful opportunity to share the optimism around the U=U message, and show how far we have come in ending HIV stigma in 2020, nearly 40 years since the HIV pandemic was proclaimed in 1981.

“The message of U=U is powerful,” she says. ‘It’s a message of hope for women who live with HIV, and needs to be shared. We have a long way to go to end stigma, but it starts with getting the facts out there.”

Positive Women Victoria Chair, Georgina Whitchurch, said World AIDS Day was an important opportunity to start the education process.

“Knowledge of U=U dispels the myths and stereotypes that have for too long driven stigma against people with HIV,’ she says. ‘With this webinar, which will continue to be available for viewing, we hope a wider audience will walk away feeling informed and educated.” Whitchurch said.

U=U Is Your Story Too Webinar for Women is on Thursday, 26 November 2020 at 7:00pm to 8:30pm AEDT Register Now

Source: Media Release

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